China Mobile books CNY107bn annual net profit

19 Mar 2020

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile provider by subscribers, recorded operating revenues of CNY745.9 billion (USD106.1 billion) in the year to end-December 2019, an increase of 1.2% year-on-year. EBITDA for the twelve-month period grew by 7.4% to CNY296.0 billion, though Mobile notes that this was due primarily to its adoption of a new accounting standard (IFRS/HKAS 16) and excluding the impact of that move, EBITDA would have declined by 1.6% y-o-y. Meanwhile, net profit for the year dropped by 9.5% to CNY106.6 billion.

The company counted a total of 950 million mobile users at 31 December 2019, up from 925 million a year earlier and including 758 million 4G subscribers (up 6.4% y-o-y). Mobile ARPU dropped 7.5% from CNY53.1 to CNY49.1, however, despite a 90.3% y-o-y increase in average handset data traffic per month to 6.7GB. Elsewhere, IoT usage rose sharply, with the cellco counting 884 million customers at end-2019 compared to 551 million a year earlier. In the fixed segment Mobile reported a 19.4% y-o-y increase in broadband customers to 187 million, and a 2.7% uptick in household broadband ARPU, from CNY34.4 to CNY35.3.

Commenting on the results, Chairman Yang Jie highlighted the challenges affecting the company in 2019: ‘We were faced with a challenging and complicated operating environment in 2019 where the upside of data traffic was rapidly diminishing and competition within the telecommunications industry and from cross-sector players was becoming ever more intense. Coupled with this was the impact of government policies, including the continued implementation of the “speed upgrade and tariff reduction.”’

China, China Mobile