China Telecom’s first quarter net profit fell 27.4% due to intense market competition and the impact of the global financial crisis. China Telecom posted net profit of RMB4.7 billion (USD688 million) for the three months ended 31 March 2009, against RMB6.47 billion a year earlier on a continued decline in its traditional wireline voice services. Operating revenues rose 15% to RMB50.9 billion while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 3.8% to RMB22.2 billion.
China Telecom posted a net increase of 4.93 million wireless customers in the first quarter of 2009, reversing a decline in the fourth quarter when it acquired the CDMA business belonging to China Unicom. The company also added a net 2.5 million subscribers to its broadband base to take the total to 46.77 million at the end of March. Fixed lines fell by 4.35 million to 204 million over the same time frame.