China Mobile, the world’s biggest operator in terms of connections, boosted its revenue and profit in 2011 as it added more than 65 million customers to its network during the course of the year.
The company said it had made “positive strides” despite facing challenges arising from “industry convergence, intensified competition and increasingly high mobile penetration” during the year.
The company’s total comprehensive income attributable to equity shareholders for the year ending 31 December 2011 was CNY125.3 billion (US$19.8 billion), up 4.9 percent on 2010. This was on the back of operating revenue of CNY528 billion, up 8.8 percent.
EBITDA increased by 4.9 percent to hit CNY251 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 47.5 percent. The operator had 650 million customers by the end of the year, up 11.2 percent.
Voice usage on its networks increased by 12.3 percent in terms of minutes per user, with customers using an average of 525 minutes per month and producing monthly ARPU of CNY71. 3G customers surpassed 51 million in 2011 with wireless data revenue increasing by 45 percent, accounting for 8.4 percent of operating revenue.
Due to the 2011 performance, the board recommended a final dividend payment of HK$1.747 per share for 2011, a pay-out ratio of 43 percent.
The company said the commercialisation of TD-LTE technology and the government’s support of home-grown technologies and innovation will “inject new energy into our future growth” for the operator in the coming years. However it warned that changes within the telecoms industry and increasing mobile penetration will see competition intensify.
Meanwhile China Mobile is reportedly taking part in the 3G spectrum auction in Pakistan. China Daily reports that the operator is looking to strengthen its presence in the market after acquiring CMPak in 2007. China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou was quoted as saying the company is looking to expand into other markets but has so far been limited by high prices.