China Mobile, the world’s largest cellco by subscribers, booked net profits of CNY129.38 billion (USD20.6 billion) for the year ended 31 December 2012, up from CNY125.97 billion in 2011. Revenues grew by 6.1% year-on-year to CNY560.41 billion, though operating expenses also increased, expanding 8.8% to CNY409.89 billion. Nevertheless, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) edged up by 1.0% y-o-y to CNY253.6 billion. CAPEX for 2012 was CNY127.4 billion, with a further CNY190.2 billion earmarked for 2013.
The cellco ended the year with 710.3 million subscribers, of which 87.93 million were 3G users, representing net additions for the year of 60.73 million and 36.72 million respectively. China Mobile notes that ‘wireless data traffic business became a major driver of operating revenue growth and accounted for an increase of 187.6% in traffic over last year,’ adding that revenue from wireless data traffic increased by 53.6% y-o-y. 3G growth was fuelled by improvements to the cellco’s stable of handsets, previously something of a sticking point given its status as the only operator utilising China’s home-grown TD-SCDMA standard: by the end of the year, China Mobile had launched 242 compatible devices and 138 smartphones.