Data demand drives SK Telecom profits

South Korea’s largest operator SK Telecom fell well short of analyst’s forecasts for 4Q profit, despite growing the figure 48% to 361.4 billion won (€236 million) on the back of strong demand for wireless data.
Wireless broadband revenue grew 22.4% to 863.5 billion won, which contributed to a 2.3% rise in revenue and operating income during the period, with the bottom line boosted by a 145.8 billion won gain on the sale of a 4.9% stake in technology services company SK C&C.
However the carrier’s profit fell short of the 415 billion won analysts polled by Dow Jones had forecast
For the full year, net profit rose 9.5% to 1.41 trillion won. Revenue increased 3% to $12.46 trillion won – with growth again led by the wireless data segment and South Korea's voracious appetite for smartphones.
But operating income fell 6.6% compared to 2009, partly as a result of growing depreciation costs.
Full-year ARPU likewise declined – down 2.6% to 41,374 won -, after a marginal 1.1% sequential rise during 4Q.
SK Telecom's subscriber base rose by 5.9% to 25.7 million. The company is thought to have a more than 50% share of the nation's mobile market.