Full-service provider China Unicom has operating revenue of CNY145.0 billion (USD20.62 billion) for the six months ended 30 June 2019, representing a 2.8% year-on-year drop and including a dip of 1.1% in service revenue to CNY133.0 billion. The operator attributed the decline to industry-wide ‘short-term pain’ due to a combination of factors including market saturation, the government’s ‘Speed Upgrade and Tariff Reduction’ policy and a competitive environment. Unicom’s cost control measures helped boost EBITDA by 8.4% y-o-y to CNY49.5 billion, however, whilst net profit was up 16.3% to CNY6.9 billion.
The operator claimed a total of 324.4 million mobile subscribers at the end of June 2019, including 238.9 million 4G users, up from 323.1 million and 230.4 million respectively at end-March 2019. Mobile ARPU declined quarter-on-quarter to CNY40.4 from CNY41.2 and from CNY47.8 in June 2018. In H2 2019, meanwhile, Unicom notes that it is planning to utilise 900MHz spectrum to further improve in-building and rural LTE coverage. The company also intends to step up promotion of integrated services, combining connectivity, hardware and content applications. Elsewhere, Unicom counted a total of 83.4 million fixed broadband subscribers – up from 82.4 million in Q1 2019 – whilst its fixed line telephony user base dipped by 601,000 q-o-q to 54.3 million.