China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile provider by subscribers, has reported a 3.7% year-on-year increase in first quarter turnover, booking revenue of CNY184.0 billion (USD26.7 billion) for the three-month period. Service revenue grew by 6.1% y-o-y to CNY160.9 billion, fuelled by sustained subscriber growth in the wireline broadband and 4G segments: 4G subscriptions reached 568 million at the end of March 2017 compared to 535 million twelve months earlier, whilst China Mobile’s fixed broadband customer base grew to 85.7 million from 77.62 million over the same period. The growth offset a 10.7% decline in revenue from the sale of products, which the cellco attributed to ‘the expanded scale of handset sales from open channels’. EBITDA for the quarter, meanwhile, was up 3.0% compared to Q1 2016 at CNY67.1 billion, whilst net profit grew by 3.7% to CNY24.8 billion.
In the mobile sector, China Mobile’s subscriber base continue to grow, reaching 856 million at the end of March 2017 compared to 849 million a year earlier. The increase in 4G subscriptions also led to an improvement in ARPU – which increased CNY58.5 per month from CNY50.0 in Q1 2017 – with growing data usage (1GB per user month in Q1 2017 compared to 876MB in the corresponding period of 2016) offsetting the impact of the continuing decline of SMS usage and voice traffic, which fell 5.5% and 6.1% y-o-y to 131.0 billion messages and 943.2 billion minutes, respectively.