China Telecom underscored the early signs of 5G’s potential to spur growth, registering a year-on-year ARPU gain of about 10 per cent on subscribers upgrading from LTE to 5G plans over H1.

The CNY80.60 ($11.64) 5G ARPU was significantly higher than the overall figure of CNY44.40, down 5.3 per cent.

In a statement, chairman and CEO Ke Ruiwen said brisk uptake of 5G service drove mobile growth: next-generation users stood at 37.8 million by end-June and are tipped to hit 80 million by the year-end.

Average 5G data usage was 14.1GB a month.

H1 results
Net profit was flat at CNY13.95 billion, while operating revenue rose 1.7 per cent to CNY193.8 billion.

Mobile service revenue increased 2.5 per cent to CNY90.5 billion, data rose 5.2 per cent to CNY77.8 billion and voice fell 11.3 per cent to CNY12.5 billion.

Handset sales dropped 37.2 per cent to CNY3.44 billion.

Ke said due to its investments in 5G and cloud services its H1 performance remained solid and it continued to take concrete steps in the “new journey towards integrated intelligent information services”.

The operator added 20 million mobile subscribers for a total of 343.5 million

Capex reached CNY43.1 billion compared with CNY35 billion in H1 2019, with nearly half earmarked for its 5G network.

Its full-year capex budget is CNY85 billion, 9.6 per cent higher.

Together with China Unicom it deployed 210,000 5G base stations in 50 cities at end-June.

The number of connected IoT devices increased 28.6 per cent from a year earlier to 186 million, with revenue rising 15.5 per cent to CNY1.26 billion.