SK Telecom (SKT) highlighted 5G subscriber growth in 2021 and a bright outlook for a restructured company, downplaying double-digit falls in profit and mobile revenue in Q4.

The operator added 4.4 million 5G subscribers, ending 2021 with 9.9 million accounting for 33.2 per cent of its total mobile user base of 29.7 million, which rose 2.1 per cent year-on-year.

On an earnings call, CEO Ryu Young-sang explained a reorganisation of its business with the spinoff of an investment unit in December 2021 is centred around five main groups: telecoms; media; enterprise; AI and metaverse; and connected intelligence.

The structure is designed to accelerate growth in new areas while maintaining stability in tradition businesses, he said.

Ryu forecast annual revenue to grow 37 per cent to KRW23 trillion ($19.2 billion) by 2025 and the contribution from new businesses to double to 36 per cent.

He also highlighted efforts to develop electric urban air mobility services, including a partnership with US-based Joby Aviation unveiled this week and participating in projects led by South Korea’s government.

Net profit in Q4 dropped 15.1 per cent year-on-year to KRW314.8 billion  due in part to lower equity gains from non-operating activities.

Consolidated revenue fell 11.2 per cent to KRW4.3 trillion, with mobile service revenue down 11.9 per cent to KRW2.6 trillion and ARPU up 1.6 per cent to KRW30,740.

Capex was KRW3 trillion and is expected to remain around the same this year.

Pay-TV sales were flat at KRW463 billion, fixed-line revenue grew 6.8 per cent to KRW297 billion and B2B turnover rose 13.6 per cent to KRW301 billion.

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