Full service provider China Telecom has recorded year-on-year growth of 4.1% and 7.4% for its first half operating revenue and net profit, respectively, on the back of subscriber growth and accelerated take-up of its 4G services. The operator booked turnover of CNY184.12 billion (USD27.6 billion) for the first six months of 2017, up from CNY176.83 billion in the year-ago period. Service revenue rose 6.8% y-o-y, with turnover from mobile services in particular increasing by 12.2% to CNY75.74 billion. Telecom notes that the number of 4G terminal users on its network rose by more than 30 million between June 2016 and June 2017 – from 121.87 million to 152.02 million – aided in part by its refarming of 800MHz spectrum for LTE and driving a 23.9% y-o-y increase in revenue from mobile data services to CNY55.29 billion. Data traffic for handsets rose by 125.9% to 1.125 million TB for the six-month period, whilst average monthly data use per subscriber grew by 55.75 to 1,384MB. Blended ARPU for mobile subscribers was CNY56.8 in H1 2017 (CNY55.5 in H1 2016), whilst 4G ARPU was CNY67.2, down from CNY72.8 a year earlier.
In the fixed broadband segment, Telecom counted a total of 128.10 million subscriptions, of which 117.23 million were fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) customers, up from 105.99 million (out of a total of 123.12 million) in mid-2016. The increase in fibre penetration saw the proportion of users with connections of 50Mbps or above increase from 34.1% to 57.6%, whilst the average download speed was around 62Mbps, compared to 50Mbps in June 2016. Price competition did, however, lead to a drop in ARPU from CNY54.2 to CNY52.0.
EBITDA for the period, meanwhile, was up 3.7% y-o-y to CNY52.41 billion. Net profit grew 7.4% to CNY12.54 billion, aided by reduced expenditure from mobile handset subsidies, interconnection costs and general administrative expenses.