China Telecom has reported a 5.8% year-on-year increase in operating revenue for the first quarter of 2017, fuelled by strong subscriber growth in the wireless segment – in particular the 4G space – as well as continuing expansion in the fixed broadband market. China Telecom booked operating revenue of CNY91.4 billion (USD13.3 billion) for the three months to 31 March 2017, up from CNY86.4 billion in the corresponding period of 2016. Operating expenses also grew, increasing by 5.8% y-o-y to CNY83.6 billion, with network operations and support seeing the largest increase in costs, expanding by 12.9% y-o-y to CNY23.8 billion. EBITDA, meanwhile, increased 4.2% to CNY24.8 billion and net profit for the quarter rose by 4.5% to CNY5.4 billion.
China Telecom counted a total 221.5 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2017, of which 137.6 million used 4G devices, up from 215.0 million and 121.9 million at end-December 2016. The trend of increasing data usage and falling voice traffic continued during the period under review, with 3G and 4G mobile handset data traffic reaching 491,600TB – compared to 443,600TB in the preceding quarter – whilst mobile voice usage dropped 3.7% quarter-on-quarter to 179.6 billion minutes. In the fixed segment, Telecom recorded net additions of 2.7 million new broadband subscriptions, whilst the proportion of its customer base using fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology grew from 86.1% in Q4 2016 to 89.1%.