4G expansion continues to fuel China Mobile growth

26 Apr 2016

China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless provider by subscribers, has reported operating revenue of CNY177.5 billion (USD27.31 billion) for the first three months of 2016, an 8.7% increase compared to the same period of 2015. EBITDA was CNY151.6 billion – up by 7.0% year-on-year – with an EBITDA margin of 36.7%, down slightly from 37.3% in Q1 2015. Net profit, meanwhile, edged up 0.5% year-on-year to CNY23.9 billion. In operational terms, the operator reported a total of 834 million mobile customers (compared to 826 million in December 2015), of which 377 million were 4G subscribers (312 million in Q4 2015) and 153 million were 3G users (169 million). Despite the strong improvements to its customer base, China Mobile noted that it faced challenges from high pressure on tariff reductions and the impact of over-the-top (OTT) substitution on traditional communication services. Average minutes of use (MOU) per customer per month fell from 420 in Q4 2015 to 409 in the three months to end-March 2016, while SMS usage also fell from a total of 133.9 billion to 130.7 billion. Monthly ARPU grew to CNY57.6 from CNY48.2 over the same period, though, buoyed by the continuing demand for data with average data use expanding to 551MB per customer per month from 443MB in the preceding quarter.