China Mobile Chairman Shang Bing has several reasons to smile after announcing the financial result for the first three months of 2017.
China Mobile posted revenue of RMB 569.5 billion or $86.02 billion (+4.9 percent), telecom services revenue of RMB 515.3 billion (+7.1 percent), EBITDA of RMB 211.3 billion (+5.5 percent) and profit of RMB 92.1 billion (+4.6 percent).
The single digit growth in all aspects indicates that China Mobile, the largest telecom operator in the world, is coming back to achieve significant growth in coming months. But its voice business is still under pressure.
China Mobile has around 878 million mobile customers to make it as the largest telecom operator in the world in terms of subscriber base. The ARPU of its mobile customers rose 0.8 percent to RMB 60.5. This was mainly due to its data focus and shift from 3G to 4G i phases.
China Mobile is strong in the Chinese 4G market as it added 86.72 million for the first three quarters to reach a 4G subscriber base of 622 million. China Mobile has stopped tracking its 3G subscribers as the main focus has shifted to 4G. China Mobile is in fact the #1 4G operator in the world.
Handset data traffic recorded 113 percent increase due to its 4G data focus and plans for its 800 million plus subscribers. China Mobile said handset customer DOU reached 1.2GB and 4G customer DOU exceeded 1.5GB.
China Mobile is yet to find a solution for the declining voice revenue due to competition from OTT (over-the-top) players. China Mobile’s voice usage decreased 7.1 percent.
China Mobile enhanced network speed and quality of fixedline broadband with a special focus on customer identification and targeting in the country. China Mobile added 25.8 million wireline broadband customers in 9 months to touch 100 million. China Mobile’s ARPU from wireline broadband was RMB 35.1.
“The Group will spare no effort in enhancing cost efficiency across its operations and optimizing the use of resources. EBITDA stood at RMB211.3 billion, up by 5.5 percent compared to the same period last year,” China Mobile Chairman Shang Bing said.
China Mobile does not share its details on Capex related investment to enhance 4G network and add data customers.