Full service provider China Unicom has booked total revenue of CNY73.8 billion (USD10.4 billion) for the first three months of 2020, largely unchanged from the CNY73.1 billion figure reported a year earlier. Net profit for the quarter was down to CNY3.2 billion from CNY3.6 billion in Q1 2019. The group warned that it was facing challenges of market saturation and competition as well as the COVID-19 outbreak, which it said had created new difficulties for customer acquisition and 5G network deployment. However, the outbreak has also accelerated demand for ‘transformation on digitisation, cyberisation and intelligence’ creating new opportunities, the company added, noting that it had: ‘made use of new technologies such as Big Data, AI and 5G to support precise epidemic control and smart public administration as well as resumption of work and business production’.
Unicom reported a total of 311.009 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2020, of which 245.522 million were 4G subscribers, compared to 318.475 million and 253.766 million three months earlier. The company did not disclose its 5G subscriber total, but said it expects user growth to accelerate in H2 2020 in line with accelerated network deployment and the proliferation and declining price of 5G terminals. In the fixed segment, meanwhile, the company added 1.353 million broadband subscriptions during the three-month period, bringing its user base to a total of 84.831 million. Net losses in voice lines continued, meanwhile, with Unicom recording a total of 53.486 million telephony subscribers, compared to 54.215 million at end-December 2019.