China Unicom credited steady gains in 5G subscribers for fuelling ARPU growth over the opening nine months of the year, which contributed to a double-digit rise in profit.

The operator added 66.1 million 5G package customers to take the total to 137 million at end-September, putting penetration at 43 per cent.

Mobile service revenue rose 5.8 per cent year-on-year to CNY123.3 billion ($19.3 billion), with ARPU increasing 6.3 per cent to CNY44.30. Total mobile subcribers increased 2 per cent to 315.5 million.

Net profit rose 19.4 per cent to CNY12.9 billion, aided by a 30 per cent drop in finance costs. Total service turnover grew 7.3 per cent to CNY222.4 billion, and product sales 22.7 per cent to CNY22.1 billion.

Fixed-line sales rose 9.1 per cent to CNY97.1 billion; industry internet revenue increased 25.3 per cent to CNY40.9 billion.