3G growth helps boost Unicom profits by 68%

21 Mar 2013

Chinese telco China Unicom has booked revenues of CNY248.926 billion (USD39.63 billion) for the full year ended 31 December 2012, up 19.0% from 2011, with annual profit increasing 67.9% to CNY7.096 billion. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were CNY72.658 billion, improving 14.6% from the previous year whilst its EBITDA margin was 34.6%, up just 0.5 percentage points from 2011.

Revenues from mobile services were CNY210.13 billion compared to CNY185.87 billion in 2011, CNY59.8 billion of which was derived from 3G services (CNY103.31 billion in 2011). An improved handset supply chain helped bolster 3G uptake, whilst its value added service (VAS) sales channels such as its WO app store helped boost data traffic. Unicom ended the year with 76.456 million 3G subscribers, and handset data usage reached 93.99 billion MB – an average of 256MB per 3G smartphone user per month, the operator claimed. Unicom added 92,000 3G base stations, increasing the total to 331,000, covering all cities in China and most towns in central and eastern towns. A HSPA+ upgrade was also applied to the entire network, increasing potential download speeds.

Meanwhile fixed line revenues increased only slightly as falling income from voice services was offset by growth in the broadband segment. Revenues from broadband were CNY39.37 billion in 2012, of a total CNY82.21 billion from Unicom’s fixed line business, compared to CNY35.23 billion and CNY81.63 billion a year earlier. Unicom continued to expand its broadband network, adding 20.54 million access ports in 2012, increasing the total to 106.46 million, of which 59% were fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) or fibre-to-the-building (FTTB).

China, China Unicom