SK Telecom Busts Out Quarterly Results

While some carriers are just starting to emerge from the quagmire of over-spending during the boom years, South Korea’s SK Telecom is never really felt the doldrums. SK Telecom Q2 profits are up 18.9% over last quarter reaching a staggering US$465M. That’s a lot of Kimchi! SKT drove the revenue growth with strong performance from mobile Internet services. Wireless data now accounts for a whopping 13% of revenues, a 91% increase over this quarter last year (US industry average is ~1.5%). SKT is also adding subscribers faster than its competition in a county where they already own 55% of the market, and where penetration is about 75% of 47M inhabitants. Despite the surprising Q2 results, the stock squeaked up a scant 1.74% as investors turned out to be just as disappointed in some governance issues as they are pleased with the financial results (SKT sister company SK Global has been Korea’s answer to US financial debacles.) Either way, with great 3G networks, ample content and apps, and great handsets, SKT is proving that people will use -and pay for- a good service proposition. My bias? I should disclose that I have been doing extensive strategic consulting for SK Telecom for the past two years.

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