China Mobile aims to be among first mobile operators with iPhone 6
China Mobile, the world's largest wireless network operator by number of subscribers, says it will be one of the first operators to offer Apple's iPhone 6, which is expected to be launched later this year.
"China Mobile will be among the first batch of operators to provide the new iPhone," chairman Xi Guohua told a press conference in Hong Kong yesterday.
"This is a must. Apple has attached great importance to the customers of China Mobile."
Total subscribers of the Beijing-headquartered company reached 790 million in the first half of this year, 23.4 million more than at the end of last year.
Users of its 4G services reached 20.4 million by the end of last month, up from 13.9 million in June.
Xi said the contribution of 4G business to the company was already noticeable, and the impact would be more obvious in the second half.
"The second half will be good," he said. "Our 4G infrastructure network will be more mature, and the handsets in the market will be more diversified and cheaper."
Users who consume more 4G data traffic to download videos and play games are helping telecommunications operators combat the effects of a fall in traditional voice and messaging services.
The average revenue per user of 4G users is 143 yuan (HK$180), compared with the 64 yuan arpu for overall subscribers. China Mobile hopes to have 50 million 4G users by the end of the year, and to have sold 100 million 4G handsets. It sold 22 million 4G phones in the first half of the year.
Company vice-president Xue Taohai said he was confident the 4G subscriber goal was achievable, based on the growth momentum seen in the past few months.
"Since the 4G service was launched, we have observed an increase in subscriptions every month," Xue said.
The company is building the world's biggest 4G network. Its base-station network reached 410,000 in the first half, covering more than 300 cities, and is expected to exceed 500,000 by the end of the year.
In the first half, net profit dropped 8.5 per cent year on year to 57.7 billion yuan in an increasingly saturated telecommunications market.
The firm's operating revenue rose 7.1 per cent to 324.7 billion yuan, beating analyst estimates.