China’s largest wireless provider by subscribers, China Mobile, has reported operating revenues of CNY185.0 billion (USD27.5 billion) for the first three months of 2019 – a decrease of 0.3% compared to Q1 2018 – with the provider citing declining mobile data tariffs and the cancellation of domestic data roaming charges in July 2018 for the drop. EBITDA for the period grew by 4.4% year-on-year to CNY72.7 billion, although this was partially due to a change in reporting standards, the operator noted. The dip in revenue, combined with an increase in expenditures from inflexible items, led to an 8.3% y-o-y decline in net profit fell to CNY23.7 billion. China Mobile counted a total of 931 million wireless subscribers at the end of March 2019 (up from 925 million three months earlier), of which 723 million were 4G users (713 million at end-December 2018). Mobile ARPU reached CNY50.3 from CNY45.4 in Q4 2018, whilst average monthly data consumption increased from 5.3GB to 5.7GB over the same period. China Mobile also claimed a total of 167 million fixed broadband subscribers – an increase of ten million compared to December 2018 – but ARPU dipped from CNY31.5 to CNY30.8.
Rival provider China Unicom, meanwhile, has recorded total revenues of CNY73.1 billion for Q1 2019, down by 2.4% y-o-y. Similar to its larger competitor, Unicom’s EBITDA for quarter was also boosted by a change in its reporting standards, with the company booking EBITDA of CNY25.0 billion for the period – an increase of 4.6% y-o-y. Net profit for the three-month period grew to CNY3.7 billion from CNY3.0 billion. In terms of subscribers, Unicom reported a total of 323.136 mobile users (up from 315.036 million in December 2018), including 230.444 million 4G subscribers (219.925 million three months earlier). Fixed broadband accounts grew by 1.9% q-o-q to 82.392 million, whilst fixed telephony subscriptions dropped from 55.899 million to 54.920 million.