China Mobile Q1 profits up 3.5% despite ARPU slide

23 Apr 2012

China Mobile, China’s largest cellco by subscribers, has reported first-quarter operating revenues of CNY127.445 billion (USD20.111 billion), a 7.8% increase year-on-year. Meanwhile, net profit increased to CNY27.779 billion for the period, up 3.5% y-o-y, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were CNY60.703 billion with an EBITDA margin of 47.6%. Despite intensifying competition and a high level of mobile penetration, the cellco’s subscriber base increased to 667.2 million from 649.6 million at the end of December 2011, with 59.6 million customers signed up to 3G services, compared to 51.2 million in the previous quarter. ARPU and minutes of usage (MOU) decreased quarter-on-quarter, though the descent was mitigated by increased data traffic: ARPU fell from CNY74 to CNY65, whilst MOU dropped by 2.7% to 508 minutes per month. Meanwhile data traffic rose to 148.4 billion MB, up 181.3% y-o-y and 3.1% q-o-q.