Korean telco LG Uplus ends Q1 with 7.19 million 5G subscribers

LG Uplus said its overall mobile user base climbed 27.8% y-o-y to 26.26 million in Q1

Korean operator LG Uplus ended the first quarter of 2024 with 7.19 million 5G subscribers, up 13.2% year-on-year, according to the company’s latest earnings statement.

The telco added a total of 170,000 5G subscribers during the quarter. LG Uplus had added nearly 980,000 customers in the 5G segment during 2023.

The Korean company also noted that 5G subscribers represented 65.7% of the telco’s overall mobile base at the end of March 2024, up from 56.9% at the end of the first quarter of 2023.

The telco’s overall mobile user base climbed 27.8% year-on-year to 26.26 million in Q1. MVNO users increased 61.8% to 7.03 million, while IoT connections surged 82% year-on-year to 11.18 million.

The Korean carrier reported a net profit in the first quarter of 2024 of 130.4 billion won ($95.1 million), down 15.9% compared with a net profit of 155.1 billion won in Q1 2023.

LG Uplus’ Q1 revenues reached 3.57 trillion won, up 2.3% compared to the same period in 2023.

Meanwhile, the telco’s operating profit declined by 15.1% year-on-year to 220.9 billion won in the first quarter.

LG Uplus also said that sales from its wireless division reached 1.58 trillion won in the period, up 1.3% year-on-year. The telco’s quarterly capex totaled 385 billion won, down 25.9% year-on-year.

During a conference call with investors, LG Uplus’ CFO Yeo Myung-hee noted that the overall business climate was challenging as the uptake of 5G technology has started to slow down. The executive also noted that the telco continues to focus on the acquisition of high-value customers and also to expand MVNO and IoT connections.

Last year, the government of South Korea effectively cancelled the spectrum licenses in the 28 GHz band that had been previously allocated to local operators for 5G deployments, due to the lack of investment and missed rollout requirements.

Through the decision local operators LG Uplus, SK Telecom and KT Corp. lost the right to use the 28 GHz frequencies they had won in a spectrum auction in 2018.

The Ministry of Science and ICT noted that the decision was made because local carriers failed to deploy the 28 GHz radio stations that were required as part of the licensing.

The three operators had secured frequencies in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands in 2018, under the condition that they each deploy 22,500 and 15,000 radio stations for each spectrum band.

The government noted that telcos had fulfilled with the stipulated number of radio stations for the 3.5GHz spectrum but all failed to reach the deployment goal for the 28GHz frequencies.

Comments are closed.