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(2nd LD) KT Q1 net surges on 5G user growth, new tech biz

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SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) — KT Corp., a South Korean telecom giant, said Tuesday its first-quarter net profit rose 43.7 percent from a year earlier on the back of growth in 5G users and new tech businesses.

Net income for the January-March period stood at 326.5 billion won (US$292 million) on a consolidated basis, compared with 227.2 billion won from a year earlier, according to a company regulatory filing.

Operating profit reached 444.2 billion won, up 15.4 percent over the cited period, while sales increased 3.4 percent to 6.03 trillion won.

The telecom operator said its wireless service revenue rose 2.2 percent on-year to reach 1.67 trillion won in the first quarter thanks to a rise in 5G subscribers.

As of end-March, the company had 4.4 million 5G subscribers, up 785,000 from the previous quarter and accounting for 30 percent of its total 14.4 million handset subscribers.

KT said growth in its corporate-focused new digital services, which include data center and artificial intelligence platform businesses, also boosted its bottom line.

Sales from the business category in the first quarter stood at 134.5 billion won, up 7.5 percent from the previous year.

“For the data center business, the opening of the Yongsan internet data center led to full-scale growth in sales in the first quarter,” KT Chief Financial Officer Kim Young-jin said in a conference call. “We were also able to sustain over double-digit growth in the cloud business.”

The company’s internet protocol television business grew 6.8 percent from a year earlier to reach 446.2 billion won.

Major subsidiary BC Card partially recovered from last year’s pandemic-induced slump, recording 839.5 billion won in sales in the first quarter, up 5 percent from the previous year.

KT said the company’s sales grew thanks to an increase in credit card transactions.

Shares in KT rose 3.57 percent to 30,500 won, outperforming the broader KOSPI’s 1.23 percent loss. The company reported its first-quarter earnings before the market closed.

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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