SK Telecom targets 7 million LTE subscribers by the end of the year

Telecom Lead Asia: SK Telecom is planning to secure 7
million LTE subscribers by the end of the year.

The company said LTE subscribers exceeded 4.22 million at
the end of July after launching the service a year ago.

South Korea’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers said
its second-quarter net profit fell 74 percent from a year earlier as lower
phone fees and higher marketing costs to promote faster network technology
weighed on its bottom line.

For the three months ended June 30 SK Telecom posted a
net profit of 120.6 billion won (US$106.8 million), down from a KRW465.4
billion profit, the mobile operator said.

Operating profit fell 43 percent to KRW384.6 billion from
KRW672.9 billion while sales fell 0.6 percent to KRW4.015 trillion from
KRW4.038 trillion, MarketWatch reported.

Analysts expect SK Telecom’s earnings likely bottomed in
the second quarter and will improve during the remainder of the year as a
continued increase in subscribers of a high-speed-network service will likely
help lift the company’s average revenue per user–a key performance metric for
telecom operators.

Overall average revenue per user, or ARPU, fell to
KRW39,729 in the second quarter from KRW40,738 a year earlier.

SK Telecom Chief Financial Officer Ahn Seung-yun said
with wider adoption of LTE-enabled smartphones in the coming months, the
company expects stronger growth ahead.

Last year, the South Korean government urged mobile
operators to slash phone fees as part of nationwide efforts to fight inflation.

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