China Telecom Corp, the mainland's largest fixed-line network operator, plans to aggressively expand its mobile services business after posting strong subscriber growth in the first quarter.
In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, chairman Wang Xiaochu said the company became the world's largest operator of a CDMA-standard mobile network, with 100.25 million subscribers, after adding 9.73 million subscribers at the end of last month. That put the total number of mobile users on the mainland at 875.63 million.
Market leader China Mobile, which operates a GSM-standard 2G network and a 3G operation based on the mainland-backed TD-SCDMA technology, earlier reported it had 600.84 million mobile users last month.
No 2 operator China Unicom, which operates a 2G GSM network and a WCDMA-standard 3G network, said it had 174.54 million subscribers in the same period.
Wang said China Telecom would 'aggressively expand the scale of mobile, broadband and industry application services' in line with efforts to be competitive in the country's fast-developing mobile internet market.
Lisa Soh, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, said the profitability of China Telecom's mobile business was improving as losses narrowed.
The operator's monthly average revenue per user in the past quarter grew 16 per cent year on year to 49.90 yuan (HK$59.70), 'which was in line with our estimate of 49.50 yuan', Soh said.
Macquarie rated the stock as 'underperform'.
It dropped 3.45 per cent to close at HK$4.48 yesterday.
China Telecom on Thursday reported that its first-quarter net profit rose 8.1 per cent to 4.62 billion yuan, from 4.27 billion yuan a year earlier, on steady growth of its mobile services business.
Revenue grew 11.3 per cent to 58.67 billion yuan, compared with 52.71 billion yuan previously.
China Telecom Corp is planning an aggressive expansion after the number of mobile users in its network exceeded: 100m