China Mobile, the world’s largest operator by connections, committed to “seize the IoT opportunity”, as it aims to continue its growth trajectory.
Reporting its annual results for 2017, the company said IoT connections by end-December reached 229 million, an increase of 122 per cent compared to end-2016.
The operator flagged the sector as a major opportunity for future growth and said it aims to “significantly increase” the number of connections, echoing statements made by chairman Shang Bing (pictured) earlier in 2018 urging operators around the world to grasp the emerging industrial opportunity.
In its earnings statement, China Mobile reported net profit across its business units for 2017 increased 5 per cent year-on-year to CNY114 billion ($18.1 billion). Its mobile subscriber base (which excludes M2M connections) grew 4.5 per cent to 887 million, while its number of 4G subscribers grew 21 per cent year-on-year to account for 73 per cent of total subscribers.
Data traffic contributed more than half of telecoms service revenue for the first time, the company added. Its revenue from fixed and mobile units totaled CNY668 billion.
The chairman said the company had bolstered its position as market leader in 2017 despite “disruptive forces in the industry” and its profitability provided a solid foundation for future growth.
“Globally, economic activity is undergoing an accelerated shift towards being enabled by cyber information technology,” he said, adding: “Wider socio-economic development is experiencing profound change alongside the ICT industry. Taking a macro perspective on the current status of the industry, we see rare growth opportunities co-existing with formidable challenges.”
He noted the company was now entering a critical period in plans to meet its goal of “becoming a world-leading operator in digital innovation”.