KT Corp. already provided 5G coverage in 85 regions across South Korea
Korean operator KT ended 2022 with a total of 8.48 million subscribers in the 5G segment, the telco said in its earnings statement.
In the last quarter of 2022, the KT added around 521,000 5G customers, while total 5G additions for the full-year 2022 amounted to 2.1 million.
KT ended last year with a total of 24 million wireless subscribers, climbing 5.5% year-on-year.
The telco highlighted that 5G and LTE customers accounted for 94.5% of total handset customers by the end of the last quarter of 2022, up 2.2 percentage points compared to the end of 2021.
KT’s CFO Kyung-Keun Yoon had previously said that the company provided 5G coverage in 85 regions across the country.
Wireless revenue in Q4 2022 was flat at KRW2.4 trillion ($1.9 billion), while handset sales climbed 1.4% to KRW878 billion. Meanwhile, KT’s overall ARPU grew by 5.4% to KRW33,542 in Q4.
Broadband sales rose 5.3% to KRW605.3 billion while fixed telephony revenue was flat year-on-year at KRW228.7 billion.
The telco’s media and mobile platform businesses grew 5.2% to KRW565.5 billion and B2B 7.5% to KRW538.6 billion.
The carrier’s net profit declined 42.8% to KRW242.6 billion, due to extraordinary gains in Q4 2021, the company said; operating revenues reached KRW6.6 trillion, flat year-on-year.
Rival operator LG Uplus ended the fourth quarter of 2022 with 6.11 million 5G subscribers, up 32.11% year-on-year.
The telco added a total of 1.48 million 5G subscribers during last year, while total net additions in the fourth quarter reached nearly 378,000.
LG Uplus noted that 5G subscribers accounted for 53.5% of the telco’s overall mobile base at the end of 2022, up from 40.5% at the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest telecom operator, ended the fourth quarter of the year with a total of 13.4 million subscribers in the 5G segment, up from 12.5 million in the previous quarter.
During last year, SK Telecom recorded a net addition of 3.5 million 5G customers.
At the end of the fourth quarter, the operator’s 5G subscribers accounted for 58% of its overall handset subscribers, up from 52% at the end of September 2022.
The Korean government recently announced plans to award spectrum in the 28 GHz band to a new mobile operator in a move to boost competition in the domestic mobile market.
The new operator will be given the priority to use one of the two frequency bands in the 28 GHz band, while the other band will be allocated three years after the first operator launches the service, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.
The new operator will be the only service provider in the 28 GHz band during an initial three-year period in order to be able to secure its market position. Financial benefits, including tax benefits and loans, will also be provided to the new entrant, the ministry added.