State-owned China Tower recorded double-digit profit growth in the first half of 2023, despite a spike in capex, on the back of robust gains in its smart tower and energy units.

Capex in the period rose 41 per cent to CNY12.8 billion ($1.8 billion), as China’s exclusive tower operator deployed about 325,000 5G base stations in the six-months, up from adding 318,000 in the same timeline in 2022.

Net profit in Q2 rose 14.6 per cent to CNY4.8 billion. Operating revenue increased 2.2 per cent to CNY46.5 billion, led by 31 per cent growth in its smart tower business to CNY3.4 billion and a 38.5 per cent jump in its energy unit to CNY2 billion.

Its battery exchange business accounted for nearly half of energy revenue or CNY982 million, with 998,000 users at end-June, up 27.6 per cent year-on-year.

Revenue from its core tower business fell 2.9 per cent to CNY37.5 billion, attributed to the impact of new commercial rental agreements with the country’s mobile operators. Indoor distributed antenna (DAS) revenue grew 24.4 per cent to CNY3.4 billion.

The company deployed an additional 12,000 towers year-on-year to take the total to nearly 2.1 million sites. The number of tenants rose by 123,000 to 3.4 million, pushing the average per tower up from 1.72 to 1.77.

DAS coverage in high-speed railway tunnels and subways increased 21.1 per cent to 22,135km.