SK Telecom first-quarter profit down on tariff cuts

South Korea's largest mobile phone carrier SK Telecom said Wednesday its first-quarter net profit fell 40 percent year-on-year due to cuts in phone fees.

SK Telecom reported a net profit of 323.3 billion won ($287 million) in January-March compared to 537.3 billion a year earlier.

Operating profit fell 26.4 percent to 452.3 billion won from 614.3 billion while revenue rose 2.0 percent to 3.986 trillion.

The company cut its phone fees last year in line with a government-led campaign to fight inflation.

It said in a statement it expects earnings to improve in the mid-to long-term supported by "explosive" subscriber growth in the second half of 2012.

SK last September launched smartphones with LTE (long term evolution), a new high-speed data system. It said it secured 2.4 million LTE subscribers as of the end of last month.

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