China Mobile touted continued 4G growth as it cut prices to attract more customers, noting there is “one China Mobile customer” in “every three 4G users in the world”.

In its half-year earnings statement, China Mobile said it is “aware of the importance of enabling more users to enjoy our services”, leading it to cut its base 4G price. It said it is on-track to reach its target of 100 million new 4G customers this year.

Penetration rates for 4G service hit 69 per cent – some 594 million 4G subscribers from a total of 867 million.

China Mobile deployed 1.65 million 4G base stations and launched voice-over-LTE high-definition voice services in 313 cities, with the total number of VoLTE customers nearing 99 million. The company expects to have 150 million VoLTE subscribers by the year end.

It said it: “implemented measures to maintain our competitiveness in the 4G business while striving to preserve the value of data traffic”.

The company also said its consumer fixed broadband division experienced “favourable growth momentum”, with it now having 93 million customers and a target of 100 million by end-December. The strengthening of its broadband proposition also boosted its home digital sales, including set-top boxes, home monitoring systems and IP-based phones.

China Mobile said it served more than 5.9 million corporate customers and achieved a 25 per cent year-on-year rise in revenue from this segment (accounting for more than one third of the total market) in H1 2017.

The operator also said its IoT service “developed solidly”, with the total number of smart connections exceeding 150 million. It said IoT applications in markets including automotive, wearables, education, healthcare, government and others are “areas with long-term growth potential”.

China Mobile also said it will begin 5G field tests this year, and: “steadily drive the business forward, taking into account the maturity of the 5G standard and the related business model”.

The operator generated a profit of CNY62.8 billion ($9.4 billion) in H1 2017, up 3.5 per cent year-on-year. Revenue of CNY388.9 billion was up 5 per cent, and service revenue increased 6.9 per cent to CNY345 billion.

China Mobile plans to pay a special dividend “in celebration” of the 20th anniversary of its public listing.