Unicom reverses decline in mobile user base

25 Apr 2016

China Unicom, China’s second largest cellco by subscribers, has booked a 5.2% year-on-year decline in its total revenue for the first quarter of 2016, due primarily to a slump in non-service revenues. Revenue for the three month period was CNY70.34 billion (USD10.82 billion) compared to CNY74.30 billion in 2015, with service revenue increasing slightly to CNY60.84 billion from CNY60.25 billion a year earlier although other revenue dipped from CNY14.05 billion to CNY9.50 billion. EBITDA for the period was CNY19.972 billion, down 21.2% y-o-y but an increase of 50.7% compared to the previous quarter. Similarly, profit was down 84.8% y-o-y to CNY480 million but this represented a substantial improvement from a loss of CNY4.55 billion in Q4 2015.

In the mobile segment, the cellco reported a slight decline in service revenue from CNY36.62 billion to CNY36.17 billion, although it succeeded in ending the downward trend in mobile subscriptions, booking net additions 6.61 million users, following more than a year of declines in its mobile user base. Unicom notes that it renewed its focus on 4G services, and counted 59.30 million LTE subscribers at the end of March 2016, up from 44.16 million at end-December 2015.

In the fixed segment, the trend for decreasing revenue and subscriptions for voice has continued, as has the converse for broadband services. Improvements in the broadband segment off-set the negative effects of the voice space, leading to a 4.1% increase in fixed revenue to CNY24.11 billion. In terms of subscribers, Unicom claimed 73.41 million fixed broadband users (up from 72.33 million at end-December) and 72.04 million fixed voice customers (73.86 million three months earlier).

China, China Unicom