China Unicom CEO Wang Xiaochu in its annual report has revealed the telecom operator’s Capex in 2018 and 5G investment plans.
China Unicom’s capital expenditure in 2018 reached RMB44.87 billion. The main focus of the Capex was in the investments in mobile network, broadband and data, and infrastructure and transmission network etc.
China Unicom’s spending was RMB18.73 billion in mobile network, RMB9.16 billion in broadband and data, RMB10.32 billion in infrastructure and transmission network and RMB 6.66 billion in other areas last year.
China government is exploring a merger of China Unicom and China Telecom in order to speed up the development of 5G mobile services, Bloomberg reported in 2018.
The merger would see state-controlled China Unicom merged with China Telecom, creating a combined carrier with a market capitalization of over $70 billion. The new firm would still lag behind China Mobile.
China Unicom Capex
China Unicom has added 0.14 million 4G base stations to bring the total number of 4G base stations to 0.99 million in 2018.
China Unicom’s FTTH ports accounted for 82 percent of the total fixed-line broadband ports, while the percentage of FTTH subscribers to total broadband subscribers reached 82 percent.
China Unicom has received the approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to use the frequency band of 3500–3600MHz nationwide for launching 5G trials in the country.
China Unicom has invested RMB39.816 billion for upgrading the 4G network capabilities, which involves the upgrading of the transmission capacity of existing nationwide 4G network, construction of new 4G stations, improving the interoperation with 5G network and construction of transmission network in connection with the interoperation.
China Unicom has also invested RMB19.587 billion for the technology validation and enablement and launch of 5G network trial programs in relation to the 5G network.
China Unicom has also invested RMB2.322 billion for developing innovative businesses, which involves the establishment of specialised teams and business platforms to back up the development of cloud computing, big data, the Internet of Things, industrial Internet, payment finance, video and other businesses.
China Unicom’s revenue was RMB290.88 billion (+5.8 percent) in 2018. China Unicom reported service revenue of RMB263.7 billion, representing 5.9 percent growth. Revenue from the voice service was RMB46.06 billion (–13.9 percent), while non-voice service was RMB217.62 billion (+11.3 percent).
EBITDA of China Unicom amounted to RMB84.9 billion, up by 4.3 percent. Profit before income tax reached RMB13.1 billion.