China Telecom reported strong profit and revenue growth in Q1 2018 and added 18 million 4G subscribers in the quarter, building on a 2017 recovery.
The operator’s Q1 net profit rose 6.5 per cent year-on-year to CNY5.7 billion ($900 million), with operating revenue increasing 5.6 per cent to CNY96.6 billion and service revenue up 7.1 per cent to CNY88 billion.
Yang Jie, China Telecom chairman and CEO, said: “Facing the increasing intensified market competition…the group leveraged the advantages of multi-mode handsets, promoted large data traffic products and insisted on an integrated operation strategy.”
In 2017 the third ranked operator gained mobile market share and recorded double-digit wireless service revenue growth.
Network operation and support costs increased 14.5 per cent to CNY27.2 billion in Q1 2018, which Yang attributed to its network expansion efforts and the write-off of certain obsolete network equipment. Overall operating expenses were up 5.6 per cent to CNY88.3 billion.
The company added 62.6 million 4G subscribers since end-Q1 2017, taking its LTE total to just over 200 million at the close of the recent quarter and giving it a 4G penetration of 75 per cent. Net mobile additions of 44 million took total subscribers to 265 million at end-March.
Mobile data traffic increased 343 per cent over the same period in 2017, with the average monthly data traffic per 4G user reaching 3.9GB.