SK Telecom Saw Q1 Profit Rise 56 Percent

South Korean wireless operator SK Telecom said its first-quarter net profit rose 56.5 percent year-on-year due to the fast-growing popularity of smartphones.

Operating profit rose 29 percent to 614.3 billion won while sales gained 3.8 percent to 3.91 trillion won. The sale of a stake in SK C&C Co. helped boost earnings, the carrier said.

SK Telecom said it attracted 6 million smartphone subscribers as of Wednesday and expected to comfortably exceed its target of 10 million subscribers by the year-end thanks to its diverse product line-up.

The mobile operator started offering Apple Inc.’s iPad tablets from last week, just a month after the company began selling the iPhone 4, putting an end to rival mobile operator KT Corp.’s exclusive distribution of the touchscreen device in the domestic market.



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