Hong Kong company reporting season

China Mobile’s first-half profit rises 4.7 per cent as subscriber number increases

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 3:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 3:33pm

China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile phone operator by subscribers, reported on Thursday a 4.7 per cent rise in first-half net profit, helped by mobile data growth due to a rise in subscriber numbers.

Net profit for January-June was 65.6 billion yuan (US$9.62 billion), compared with 62.7 billion yuan a year earlier. This compared with the 64.1 billion yuan average estimate of five analysts compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Operating revenue rose 2.9 per cent to 391.8 billion yuan. Average revenue per user of 4G customers dropped to 64.4 yuan from 71.2 yuan a year ago, while average handset data traffic per user per month jumped 122 per cent.

The company will maintain stable growth in telecommunications services revenue, net profit and shareholder returns for the full year of 2018, it said in a statement.

China Mobile said its fourth-generation (4G) net additional customers and data traffic market share swung back to a positive trend, with the number of subscribers rising to 680 million after the addition of 27.32 million in the first half. Its number of 4G base stations increased by 190,000.

“We will continue to proactively roll out trial tests on the 5G network and other tests on 5G applications in the second half of 2018, as well as investing resources into the 5G Joint Innovation Centre and studying the possibility of cross-industry integration and applications that will speed up the commercialisation of the 5G technology,” Chairman Shang Bing said in the statement.

He added increasing customer and data traffic market shares will continue to be the focus this year, and it will strengthen the cooperation with proven internet companies to market content-based data products on a more massive scale, in order to further boost data traffic revenue.

The company declared an interim dividend of HK$1.826 per share.

China Mobile and peers China Unicom Hong Kong and China Telecom are benefiting from users upgrading to 4G and as well as from demand for mobile data, in spite of government calls to keep costs low for consumers.

Shares of China Mobile, which listed in Hong Kong more than two decades ago, climbed 0.9 per cent ahead of the results. The stock rose as much as 2.4 per cent after results were announced.