South Korean telecom operator KT Corporation said it will invest 9 billion won or $8.1 million over the next three years to reduce its reliance on overseas suppliers amid the pandemic.
KT said it will make the investment until 2023 to help its local suppliers manufacture homegrown materials and parts for equipment used by the telecom operator, Yonhap news agency reported.
The move comes as KT seeks to strengthen partnerships with local companies as uncertainties from the COVID-19 pandemic weigh on global supply chains.
The carrier said it will also pursue diversification of suppliers and major components in order to stabilize its equipment supply chain.
KT added it will support its local suppliers by helping them enter overseas markets, such as providing its overseas offices for global marketing efforts.
KT earlier said sales fell 3.4 percent to 6 trillion won during the third quarter, while operating income dropped to 292.4 billion won.
Its major non-telecom units saw a decrease in sales in the third quarter, with the carrier’s satellite broadcasting unit KT Skylife posting 3.1 percent decline in sales to 176.6 billion won in the July-September period.
The telecom operator’s wireless business showed little growth in the quarter, with sales standing at 1.7 trillion won, up 0.9 percent from a year earlier.
KT’s 5G subscribers reached 2.8 million as of the July-September period, accounting for around 20 percent of the carrier’s total mobile phone subscribers.
The company said Apple’s 5G iPhone 12 launched last month will accelerate its subscriber migration to the latest generation network, estimating that 5G users will account for 25 percent of its mobile phone subscribers by the end of this year.
The carrier’s internet protocol TV (IPTV) business sales rose 11.9 percent on-year to 459.3 billion won thanks to a boost in subscribers.
KT said it had 8.69 million IPTV users as of the third quarter, up 5.6 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. The carrier said its move to provide its IPTV subscribers access to Netflix in August fueled growth.