China Mobile – the world’s largest operator by subscribers – today posted a 1.8 percent increase in nine-month profit, reporting net income of CNY83.9 billion (US$12.3 billion) for the January to September period. Sales climbed 8.9 percent to CNY327 billion. Bloomberg notes that the improvement in net profit still missed analyst estimates, which gave a median profit estimate of CNY84.3 billion. The operator’s customer base in the period rose to 508.37 million.

Although ARPU and average revenue per minute of usage recorded a decrease, total voice usage volume for the first three quarters of 2009 increased by 19.5 percent year-on-year. SMS usage volume grew 12.9 percent whilst “the development of other data businesses also maintained favourable growth,” according to the company.