Unicom annual profit grows 10% following mobile turnaround

15 Mar 2021

Full-service provider China Unicom has reported a 4.6% increase in operating revenue for the year to end-December 2020, including a 4.3% year-on-year increase in service revenue to CNY275.8 billion (USD42.4 billion). EBITDA for the period was largely unchanged at CNY94.1 billion, compared to CNY94.4 billion in 2019, whilst net profit grew by 10.3% to CNY12.5 billion. The operator notes that, for its mobile operations, it shifted its focus from subscriber scale to ‘quality and value’ and implemented rigorous controls on customer acquisition costs. The change of approach contributed to a turnaround in mobile service revenue which grew by 3.2% in H2 2020, reversing a recent downward trend, the company having recorded declines of 2.8% (H1 2020), 3.8% (H2 2020) and 6.6% (H1 2019). Meanwhile, the co-build and co-share 5G network construction and maintenance deal with China Telecom generated cumulative savings in CAPEX of over CNY76.0 billion for the two companies combined, along with ‘substantial savings’ in operating costs. At the end of 2020, the telco had 380,000 5G sites in use and a total of 70.83 million 5G package subscribers. By the end of 2021 the cellco is aiming to increase the 5G site total to around 700,000 and plans to deploy 2100MHz spectrum on the network for wide coverage and to improve indoor coverage.

China, China Unicom