SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest telecom operator, ended the first quarter of the year with a total of 2.65 million subscribers in the 5G segment, the carrier said in its earnings statement.

At the end of last year, the telco had a total of 2.22 subscribers using its 5G service.

The company said it plans to introduce differentiated 5G specialized services, including cloud games and augmented/virtual services, and strengthen its marketing activities centered on “5G Clusters,’”where customers can experience 5G services.

SK Telecom said it will bring the total number of its 5G clusters to 240 during 2020 and expand 5G coverage to certain districts in 85 cities nationwide.

SK Telecom had previously noted that its 5G clusters are built with more base stations than other 5G coverage areas, to offer an optimal 5G environment for services like AR and VR.

As of February 2020, 5G subscribers were using seven times more virtual reality services, 3.6 times more video steaming services and 2.7 times more game apps than LTE subscribers, the carrier said.

Going forward, SK Telecom said it will focus on providing differentiated 5G services trough collaboration with diverse ICT companies including cloud service providers, device manufacturers and telecommunications companies.

South Korea claimed to be the first country in the world to launch full 5G commercial services on April 3, 2019.

Local carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus had initially launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus initially offered the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul.

Financial results

Mobile service revenue grew by 4.4%to KRW2.48 trillion ($2.02 billion). Net profit fell 17.9% to KRW306.8 billion as a result of increased 5G network investment costs including spectrum licensing fees.

The carrier’s consolidated revenue climbed 2.7%to KRW4.45 trillion.

Broadband revenue increased 8.2%to KRW823.5 billion. The telco’s security business grew 5.4%to KRW291.4 billion, while commerce declined by 4.5% due to new accounting standards.

“Over the past three years, we have diversified our business portfolio centered on mobile communication, media, security and commerce to attain sustainable long-term growth,” said Yoon Poong-young, CFO of SK Telecom. “We will successfully navigate through the current crisis by achieving balanced growth of our four main business areas.”



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