China Mobile said its 4G customer base has nearly hit 250 million, as it “comprehensively accelerated” its migration of customers to the new network.
So far in 2015, it has added more than 157 million customers to its 4G tally, taking its total to 247.6 million. And the company said that “driven by the rapid growth of 4G customers and the sound development of 4G services”, it also saw mobile data traffic increase by 151 per cent.
Previously, the operator said its 4G subscriber base stood at 190 million at the end of June 2015, indicating that it is keeping up its growth momentum. Some 30 per cent of its customer base are now 4G subscribers, and it has more connected to its network using the new technology than 3G.
Unsurprisingly, the downward trend in voice and SMS/MMS services continued, with usage down by 1.2 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively. Monthly ARPU of CNY61 ($9.61) was down slightly from CNY62.
With the positive trends in 4G development, China Mobile said that “demand for resources from quality 4G network construction and business development and mobile Internet development deployment was relatively high”, meaning that capital expenditure and costs “continued to remain at a high level”.
It said that it “further reinforced cost reduction and efficiency enhancement”, as well as revamping its marketing and sales model, and controlling selling and administrative expenses, “to promote low-cost and highly efficient operations”.
For the nine months to end-September, the company reported a profit of CNY85.4 billion ($13.4 billion), up 3.4 per cent from CNY82.6 billion, on revenue of CNY512.7 billion, up 6.5 per cent from CNY481.2 billion.
The company ended the period with a total of 822.9 million customers.
China Mobile also noted that it launched an unused data carry-over service to its monthly mobile plans, effective from 1 October, which is expected to have “certain adverse impact on operating revenue and net profit” which will be evidenced in the fourth quarter.
The operator, along with its peers China Unicom and China Telecom, are also in the process of setting up a towers joint venture.