China Mobile

China Mobile posts 3.9pc rise in earnings

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 October, 2010, 12:00am

China Mobile, the world's largest wireless network operator by subscribers, yesterday reported a small increase in profit for the nine months to September amid fresh speculation about another round of musical chairs among the country's senior telecommunications industry executives.

Despite stiff domestic competition, 'the group continued to maintain steady growth', chairman Wang Jianzhou said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Wang said the company would stick with its 'refined cost management' efforts while boosting investments in sales channels, network improvements, customer service, and research and development.

Net profit for the first nine months of the year grew 3.9 per cent from a year earlier to 87.25 billion yuan (HK$101.65 billion), as the operator continued to spend heavily on promotions to attract subscribers. By comparison, it posted a 4.2 per cent year-on-year increase in profit during the first half.

Revenue grew 7.8 per cent to 352.64 billion yuan, helped by greater customer adoption of so-called value-added services such as mobile internet access and wireless music offering.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation - a key indicator of profitability for investors and market analysts - climbed 6 per cent to 177.81 billion yuan.

China Mobile said its customer growth might have shown signs of slowing down, but it continued to lead the industry. It added 47.47 million subscribers from January to last month, more than the 31.76 million customers it signed up during the same period last year.

That lifted its total subscriber base to 569.76 million from 554.04 million in the previous year.

The average monthly revenue per user, however, held steady at 72 yuan since the new subscribers are what Wang described as 'mainly low-usage customers'.

While competition heats up between the nation's three telecommunications network operators, reports from the mainland this week speculated that China Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobing would leave the second-largest mobile network operator to take over from Vice-Minister Xi Guohua, who is to retire soon from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China Mobile vice-president Lu Xiangdong was supposed to replace Chang at Unicom.

A Hong Kong-based Unicom spokeswoman denied the reports.