China Mobile, China Unicom book revenue and profit growth on the back of 5G expansion

22 Oct 2021

Full-service provider China Mobile has unveiled its financial results for the nine months to end-September 2021, registering operating revenue of CNY648.6 billion (USD101.4 billion), representing an increase of 12.9% year-on-year. Service revenue was CNY572.9 billion, up by 9.0% compared to 9M 2020. EBITDA rose by 9.5% to CNY237.5 billion whilst net profit attributable to shareholders increased to CNY87.2 billion from CNY81.6 billion in the first nine month of 2020. The operator explained that the continued expansion was driven by the burgeoning 5G segment, with substantial increases in both 5G Package and 5G Network subscriptions – the former representing users that have signed up to a 5G plan, whilst the latter consists of customers that have used the 5G network during the quarter (and therefore have a 5G plan, compatible device and coverage) – leading to increases in data usage. Whilst total mobile subscriptions increased by ten million in the three months to end-September 2021, from 946 million to 956 million, the number of 5G Package subscriptions rose to 331 million at that date from 521 million at end-June 2021 and 5G Network subscriptions grew from 127 million to 160 million. Consequently, handset data traffic grew by 39.1% y-o-y to 90.8 billion GB, whilst average monthly usage per subscriber rose to 12GB. Mobile counted a total of 235 million subscriptions as at end-September 2021, up from 226 million in June 2021.

Rival operator China Unicom has also published its results for the first nine months of 2021, meanwhile, booking total revenue of CNY244.5 billion for the period, compared to CNY225.4 billion a year earlier. Of that total, mobile service revenue accounted for CNY123.3 billion – an increase of 5.8% y-o-y – whilst fixed line service revenue contributed a further CNY97.1 billion (up 9.1% y-o-y). Revenue from Unicom’s ‘Industry Internet’ segment, comprising its cloud, IoT, Big Data and data centres, grew by 25.3% y-o-y to CNY40.9 billion. Meanwhile, net profit attributable to shareholders rose by 19.4% over the same period to CNY12.9 billion. Unicom counted a total of 315.553 million mobile subscriptions as at end-September 2021, including 136.945 million 5G package subscriptions, and 92.998 million fixed broadband subscriptions.

China, China Mobile, China Unicom