SK Telecom has reported a 48% increase in Q4 profit, on the back of strong demand for wireless data.
The company, South Korea's largest mobile operator by subscribers, yesterday said its Q4 income grew to 361.4 billion won ($323.4 million).
But the company's earnings fell short of the expectations of analysts polled by Dow Jones, who had been on average predicting a profit of 415 billion won.
Wireless broadband revenue grew 22.4% to 863.5 billion won, while overall revenue and operating income both grew 2.3%.
The bottom line was also aided by a 145.8 billion gain on the sale of a 4.9% stake in technology services company SK C&C. The company has revealed plans to sell its remaining 4.1% in the unit by the end of July.
For the full year, net profit rose by 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 by 2.6% to 41,374 won, but ARPU in the fourth quarter, excluding activation and connection fees, grew 1.1% sequentially.
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.