Chinese full-service provider China Telecom has booked operating revenue of CNY106.9 billion (USD16.5 billion) for the first three months of 2021, an increase of 12.7% compared to the corresponding period of 2020. Service revenue accounted for CNY100.1 billion of that figure, up 8.6% from CNY92.1 billion in Q1 2020. EBITDA rose by 3.0% year-on-year to CNY31.1 billion, whilst net profit attributable to shareholders grew by 10.6% to CNY6.4 billion. China Telecom notes, however, that it saw a 13.6% y-o-y increase in operating expenses for the first quarter, including a 12.4% rise in sales costs and a 13.6% increase in network operations and support expenses. The former was due in part to a ‘significant’ increase in handset sales during the period, and a substantial drop in marketing and selling costs in Q1 2020 due to the pandemic. The latter, meanwhile, was associated primarily with the company’s 5G rollout and related developments, and the company has confirmed that it will take unspecified ‘effective measures to control the increase in relevant costs’.
China Telecom claimed a total of 356.25 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2021, including 111.23 million 5G package subscribers, compared to 351.02 million and 86.50 million respectively in Q4 2020. Meanwhile, the operator’s fixed broadband user base rose by 3.02 million quarter-on-quarter to reach 161.55 million.