The world’s largest operator by subscribers, China Mobile, has reported that first quarter net profit rose 22% year-on-year on the back of continued rapid growth in its subscriber base. Net income for the first three months of 2007 was RMB17.6 billion (USD2.3 billion), up from RMB14.4 billion in the corresponding period in 2006. Revenue increased by 19.5% to RMB77.7 billion, surpassing the USD10 billion barrier for the first time. Less positive news came with EBITDA down a couple of percentage points at 52.4%, below analyst forecasts. 14.9 million subscribers were added in the quarter to 31 March, taking the total customer base to 316.1 million. ARPU continued to fall, down year-on-year from RMB93 to RMB85 as increasing numbers of poorer rural users make up the total customer base.