South Korea’s smallest telco by subscribers, LG Uplus, has published its financial results for the three months ended 30 September 2013, with the operator reversing a net loss in the corresponding period of 2012 as revenues increased.
In the quarter under review LG Uplus generated total turnover of KRW2.879 trillion (USD2.59 billion), up from KRW2.821 billion a year earlier. The overall improvement in revenues came despite a more than 12% year-on-year decline in turnover from handset sales, which fell to KRW884.7 billion in 3Q13, with a 10.3% increase in service revenues to KRW1.990 trillion offsetting this drop. In the wireless arena, revenues were up by 15.2% against in the corresponding period of 2012 at KRW1.218 billion in 3Q13, with LG Uplus saying that the increase was in part due to LTE subscriber growth. Fixed line turnover, meanwhile, rose by 3.1% y-o-y to KRW771.8 billion. Operating income in the third quarter was KRW149.2 billion, a marked improvement from the KRW10.3 operating loss reported in 3Q 2012 on the back of revenue increases, while EBITDA for the three-month period was KRW478.4 billion, up by just over 38% from KRW346.3 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2012. Net income in 3Q13 totalled KRW75.6 billion, compared to a net loss of KRW38.4 billion a year earlier.
In operational terms, at the end of September 2013 LG Uplus reported a total of 10.713 million wireless subscribers, of which the majority are now signed up to its 4G services. Indeed, having reported 4.380 million LTE subscribers at end-September 2012, representing 43% of its total base at that date, a year later that number had risen to 6.549 million, 61% of its total, corresponding to a 83.8% year-on-year increase. In the fixed line arena, broadband accesses rose to 2.901 million at the end of the reporting period, up from 2.736 million at end-September 2012, while IPTV customer numbers increased by 46.8% y-o-y to 1.439 million. Fixed voice lines in operation increased to 491,000, and while this was a 4.6% higher than the figure reported in 3Q12, it was down from a peak of 499,000 at end-June 2013. Voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) subscribers, however, increased more substantially, up by 15.2% year-on-year to a total of 4.042 million users at end-September 2013.