A focus on the industrial sector by China Unicom showed signs of paying off, with the number of private 5G network customers more than doubling year-on-year.

In a release, the smallest mobile player in the country by subscribers said it deployed a total of 7,441 private 5G networks for businesses by end-October, up 138 per cent.

IoT terminal connections grew 27 per cent to 474.4 million.

In August, the company forecast double-digit profit growth in 2023, driven by gains in its private 5G and cloud businesses.

The operator added 47 million 5G package subscribers to close October with 252 million, lagging rivals China Mobile (759 million) and China Telecom (311 million).

China Unicom’s net profit for the first nine months of 2023 rose 10.1 per cent to CNY17.2 billion ($2.4 billion) and mobile service revenue 2.6 per cent to CNY130.7 billion.

Industry internet revenue rose 14.2 per cent to CNY60.7 billion, accounting for 24 of its total service figure.