China Mobile, the largest mobile operator in the mainland, reported stable financials and continued growth in its 4G subscriber base during Q1, but LTE ARPU fell nearly 5 per cent.
The operator’s net profit for the January-March quarter rose 4.1 per cent year-on-year to CNY25.8 billion ($4.1 billion), with operating revenue edging up 0.8 per cent to CNY185.5 billion.
Service revenue increased 3.6 per cent to CNY166.7 billion, with the company stating growth was strained by the carry over effect of the full cancellation of domestic long distance and roaming tariffs in September 2017.
The company’s voice business continued its downward trajectory with total minutes of usage declining 7.6 per cent year-on-year. Buoyed by the growth of corporate messaging, total SMS usage rose 6.3 per cent from Q1 2017. Revenue from the sales of products declined 18.7 per cent from Q1 2017 to CNY18.8 billion.
It added 22 million 4G subscribers in Q1, taking its total to 672 million at end-March. Its total mobile subscriber base increased by 12 million to 899 million. LTE penetration reached nearly 75 per cent at the end of the quarter. ARPU fell 4.7 per cent year-on-year to CNY55.70.