China Tower booked brisk profit growth in 2019 as it extended its tower footprint across the country to 2 million sites and boosted efficiency by continuing to increase the tenancy ratio.

Profit attributable to owners of the company nearly doubled year-on-year to CNY5.22 billion ($743.2 million), while operating revenue rose 6.4 per cent to CNY76.4 billion.

In a statement, chairman Tong Jilu said demand for deep 4G network coverage and the scaling of 5G infrastructure created plenty of opportunities, noting “we reinforced our strategy by optimising the sharing of existing resources, while stepping up our efforts to acquire and use shared resources to enhance efficiency and create collaborative value”.

Its tower business grew 4.1 per cent with turnover hitting CNY71.4 billion; revenue from the indoor distributed antenna system (DAS) unit grew 46.1 per cent to CNY2.66 billion; and sales from from trans-sector site application and information (TSSAI) and energy operation division jumped 70.2 per cent to CNY2.08 billion.

The tower operator added 69,000 sites in 2019 to take its total to 1.994 million nationwide. The number of tower tenants increased by about 226,000, with more than 80 per cent of the new tenancies accommodated through co-location. The average number of tenants per site increased to 1.62 from 1.55 in 2018.

Tong said by broadening the scope of its capabilities from site resource management to value-added integrated information services it increased the number of TSSAI tenants 25 per cent to 176,000 at end-2019.

He said the 5G era is driving transformation and the upgrading of the entire information and communications industry, presenting “enormous opportunities and market space for the company”.

He added it will continue to enhance efficiency and create benefits, particularly in key areas such as 5G power supply and site sharing in its DAS business. It also plans to speed-up development of a centralised cloud platform for resource management to better serve its business needs.