China Mobile, the world’s largest cellular provider by subscribers, has registered a 4.9% year-on-year increase in operating revenue for the six months ended 30 June 2015, booking turnover of CNY340.73 billion (USD53.23 billion), of which service revenue represented CNY299.53 billion (+0.5% y-o-y). EBITDA for the period was CNY126.86 billion, representing a 7.3% improvement compared to H1 2014, with an EBITDA margin of 37.2% (36.4% in H1 2014). Net profit, meanwhile, was down slightly at CNY57.27 billion from CNY57.74 billion twelve months earlier.
Revenue from mobile data offset the impact of falling revenue from mobile voice and messaging services, fuelled by rapid subscriber growth, itself aided by the operator’s rapid network rollout programme. At the end of June 2015, China Mobile claimed 189.66 million 4G customers, compared to 90.06 million in December 2014 and 13.94 million six months before that, with Long Term Evolution (LTE) users now representing 23.2% of its total user base. Over the same period the cellco has rolled out a network of 940,000 LTE-enabled base stations covering one billion people. Consequently, mobile data revenue grew by 41.6% y-o-y to CNY99.28 billion, eliminating the impact of declines of 16.4% and 12.0% in voice and SMS/MMS service revenue over the same period.
Meanwhile, China Mobile noted that it is considering acquiring the assets of sister company, fixed broadband provider China TieTong (CTT), with a view to becoming a full service provider.