South Korean telco LG Uplus saw its profits and sales rise in the first quarter of the year in large part due to people spending more time indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said Friday.
The telco said operating profit was 219.8 billion won, a rise of 11.5% from the year prior, while revenue was 3.28 trillion won, an almost 15% increase, it said.
Operating profit rose as a result of consumers partaking in more indoor activities during the pandemic, LG Uplus said. The revenue boosts came from mobile payments, video on-demand, and cloud use, the company added.
Despite drops in smartphone sales, LG Uplus, much like its compatriot SK Telecom, saw an increase in 5G subscribers.
As of the first quarter, the company said it had accrued 1.45 million 5G subscribers.
The country's third-largest telco said it is currently providing services such as smart home, augmented reality shopping, and cloud games for its 5G subscribers and would continue to work to secure more types of content.
It is also working on various 5G trials in the enterprise space as part of efforts to find new growth.
In the first quarter, LG Uplus invested 375 billion won on infrastructure to expand 5G coverage -- an increase of 35.3% from a year prior. So far in 2020, the telco has made installing 5G networks in densely populated areas, inside large buildings, and the subway as its priority, it said.
As of February, 5.36 million people have signed up for 5G subscriptions in South Korea.
Rise in 5G subscribers increased sales but investment into 5G infrastructure slightly dented profitability.
Workers at telcos' call centres at the city of Daegu, the epicentre of COVID-19 in South Korea, will work from home.
South Korea has currently allocated 2,680MHz for 5G use but aims to add up to another 2,640MHz by 2026.
KT has succeeded in data transfer between its 5G network and a satellite 36,000 kilometres away.
More and more South Korean tech firms are reacting to the spike in coronavirus cases in the country, with 1,146 confirmed cases and 11 dead, as of Wednesday.