China Mobile has announced it financial results for the year to 31 December 2018, recording a net profit of CNY117.8 billion (USD17.6 billion) for the twelve-month period, representing an increase of 3.1% year-on-year. Operating revenue was CNY736.8 billion, down 0.5% from CNY740.5 billion in 2017 but the telco attributed the decline to a change in accounting standards, claiming that applying the same method to 2017’s figure would show a 1.8% increase in turnover. EBITDA, meanwhile, grew by 1.9% to CNY275.5 billion.
The telco counted a total of 925 million mobile subscribers at end-December 2018, up from 887 million a year earlier, and of that total 713 million were 4G users (650 million at end-2017). Total mobile handset data traffic grew by 182.1% compared to 2017, and average data use per subscriber per month reached 6.6GB in December but intensifying competition led to a decrease in mobile ARPU, to CNY53.1 from CNY57.7 in 2017. China Mobile added 322 million net new M2M connections during the period under review, bringing its total ‘IoT smart connections’ to 551 million by the end of December 2018, with the telco noting that in some provinces and cities, ‘the number of M2M connections has exceeded that of human-to-human connections’. In the fixed segment, China Mobile reported a total of 157 million broadband subscribers, up from 113 million twelve months earlier, whilst ARPU grew by 3.2% y-o-y to CNY34.4.