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(2nd LD) KT Q2 net up over 70 pct on 5G growth

All News 16:23 August 10, 2021

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SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- KT Corp., a South Korean telecom giant, said Tuesday its second-quarter net income rose 77.4 percent from a year earlier on the back of robust growth of 5G network subscribers as well as its media content businesses.

Net income for the April-June period stood at 370.8 billion won (US$322.9 million) on a consolidated basis, compared with 209.1 billion won the same period the previous year, according to a company statement.

Operating income reached 475.8 billion won, up 38.5 percent over the cited period, while revenue rose 2.6 percent to 6.03 trillion won.

KT Corp.'s headquarters in central Seoul is shown in this file photo taken on Nov. 3, 2020. (Yonhap)

The telecom giant cited broad growth across its businesses for the improved bottom line.

KT's wireless service revenue rose 4.5 percent on-year to 1.69 trillion won in the second quarter thanks to increasing 5G subscribers.

As of the end of the second quarter, KT's 5G subscriptions stood at around 5 million, compared with 4.4 million the previous quarter.

The telecom operator has recently stepped up efforts to improve its 5G service, launching a standalone version of the network in July.

Standalone 5G ensures lower latency and better battery life for mobile devices, according to KT.

Other rival carriers currently provide non-standalone 5G, requiring support from 4G LTE networks.

KT said in a conference call that standalone 5G is expected to power the full potential of the high-speed network, such as internet-of-things devices essential for smart factories and self-driving technologies.

In terms of 5G network users, the company forecast that scheduled launches of new flagship smartphones later this year, such as Samsung Electronics Co.'s foldable phones and Apple Inc.'s iPhone 13, will ensure continued subscriber growth.

KT aims for its 5G subscribers to account for 45 percent of its handset users by the end of this year, compared with a 35 percent share in the second quarter.

The telecom operator added that its artificial intelligence and digital transformation division, which includes its internet data center business, saw solid growth, with sales rising 6.2 percent on-year to 137.2 billion won in the April-June period.

The company launched its 14th internet data center in May in Seoul's southwestern ward of Guro amid growing demand for the infrastructure as the pandemic drives companies to use more online services.

Revenue from KT's content subsidiaries, which include media production-focused KT Studio Genie, rose 16.3 percent to 211.8 billion won over the same period.

KT added in the conference call that Studio Genie will ramp up its presence with the release of original content later this year. The telecom operator has plans to publicly list the media unit, although it did not provide a specific time frame.

Shares in KT fell 0.74 percent to 33,400 won, underperforming the broader KOSPI's 0.53 percent loss. The company announced its second-quarter earnings before the market closed.

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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