China Telecom slotted itself into third place on the global stage in terms of subscriber numbers, accompanied by stable revenue growth on the back of brisk gains in data use in the opening nine months of the year.
Ke Ruiwen, chairman and CEO (pictured), said the group capitalised on the opportunities stemming from rising mobile consumption and “expedited the promotion of 5G scale commercialisation, effectively responding to the challenges of saturated traditional businesses and intensified competition in emerging areas”.
He said it maintained rapid growth in data usage, while a decline in ARPU narrowed compared. The operator didn’t reveal mobile ARPU for the period.
Net profit fell 3.4 per cent year-on-year to CNY18.4 billion ($2.6 billion), though the comparison is skewed by a one-off gain booked on a listing of China Tower in the 2018 period. Excluding this, profit grew 2.5 per cent.
Operating revenue inched up 0.8 per cent to CNY283 billion, with service revenue rising 2.5 per cent to CNY271 billion.
Monthly 4G data usage increased to 7.6GB from 5.2GB.
The operator added 45 million LTE subscribers, taking its total to 275 million at end-September. Its overall subscriber base increased 12.2 per cent to 330 million, pushing it ahead of China Unicom with 324.7 million.
China Telecom, which has long had more 4G subscribers than its rival and now partner, now ranks as the third largest mobile player in the world (single country operator) behind China Mobile and Reliance Jio, which hit 355 million at end-September.
Ke said the company started cooperating with China Unicom on the joint buildout of a 5G network, which “is beneficial to the efficient construction of 5G network”, reducing costs and streamlining operations.
He said the collaboration enables it to rapidly create 5G service capability and strengthen network quality.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back