China Telecom, the third largest mobile player in the country, reported steady financials for the first nine months of 2018, with a 22 per cent increase in mobile subscribers driving strong service revenue growth.
The operator’s net profit for the January to September period rose 2.7 per cent year-on-year to CNY19.03 billion ($2.7 billion), with service revenue increasing 6 per cent to CNY265 billion. Overall operating revenue was up 3.6 per cent to CNY285 billion.
Yang Jie, China Telecom chairman and CEO, said in a statement it faced “increasingly intensified market competition coupled with complicated and changing industry environments”.
Following policy directives from the government in March, the company (like its rivals) invested to improve speeds, cut data tariffs and cancelled data roaming fees from 1 July.
As it invested to upgrade network capabilities, network operations and support expenses increased 11.5 per cent year-on-year to CNY81.8 billion. Overall expenses were up 4.5 per cent to CNY260 billion.
The operator added more than 53 million subscribers year-on-year, taking its total to 294 million at end-September. The migration of users to 4G plans accelerated, with LTE subscribers rising 37.6 per cent year-on-year to 230.5 million, taking penetration to 78 per cent.
It said monthly average data traffic per 4G user reached 5.2GB and maintained strong growth during the period. While ARPU in the recent nine months was down on the comparable 2017 period, the operator did not state the percentage.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back