China Unicom underlined the impact of fast adoption of 5G services on ARPU and its bottom-line in the first half of 2021, with the subscribers accounting for 36.5 per cent of its total user base at end-June, a proportion the operator claimed was an industry high.

Net profit grew 21.1 per cent year-on-year to CNY9.2 billion ($1.4 billion). Operating revenue increased 9.2 per cent to CNY164.2 billion, with mobile service rising 7.3 per cent to CNY82.1 billion.

Mobile ARPU increased 8.5 per cent to CNY44.40 and average monthly data usage 20.8 per cent to 12.2GB.

The operator added 42.5 million 5G package subscribers, ending June with 113.3 million. It didn’t disclose 5G figures until the beginning of 2021.

Total subscribers remained at 310.5 million.

In a statement, chairman and CEO Wang Xiaochu explained the operator aims to improve market-oriented operations, enhance innovation efforts and accelerate the pace of digital transformation.

China Unicom and 5G network partner China Telecom added 80,000 compatible base stations for a total of more than 460,000.

Wang stated the joint network programme enabled the operators to generate cumulative savings of more than CNY100 billion in capex and substantial opex savings, including lower tower usage, network maintenance and energy expenses.

Its industry internet business grew 23.6 per cent to CNY28.03 billion.