China Mobile, the world’s largest cellco by subscribers, has reported operating revenue of CNY389.4 billion (USD55.2 billion) for the first six months of 2019, a decrease of 0.6% from CCNY391.8 billion a year earlier. The operator attributed the decline to the near-saturation of the communications market, adding that it is ‘increasingly difficult to boost operating results by relying on traditional growth drivers alone.’ EBITDA for the period grew by 3.6% to CNY151.1 billion, though the telco notes that this is largely due to a change in accounting standards, without which it would have recorded a 4.6% drop. Net profit was down 14.6% year-on-year to CNY56.1 billion, but was similarly affected by the change in accounting standards, without which the decline would have been 13.9%.
China Mobile claimed a total mobile subscriber base of 935 million at the end of June 2019, of which 734 million were 4G customers, up from 906 million and 677 million, respectively, at mid-2018. Competition and price erosion has led to a 10.1% y-o-y fall in mobile ARPU, to CNY52.2, however. In the fixed segment, Mobile’s broadband customer base grew by 29.5% y-o-y to 175 million, whilst ARPU remained static at CNY35.0 (CNY34.8 in June 2018). Finally, IoT smart connections nearly doubled from 384 million in June 2018 to 693 million in mid-2019.