Biz / Tech

China Mobile profits dip slightly in first half

Zhu Shenshen
Decreased user spending and investment in 5G chipped away at the carrier's profits during the first six months.
Zhu Shenshen

China Mobile’s net profit decreased slightly in the first half due to shrinking user spending and increased investment in 5G network construction, the world’s biggest mobile carrier said on Thursday.

The carrier’s net profit was 55.8 billion yuan (US$7.97 billion) in the first half, down 0.5 percent from a year earlier. Revenue reached 389.9 billion yuan, up 0.1 percent. By June, China Mobile had 947 million mobile users, including 70.2 million 5G users.

Its monthly ARPU (average revenue per user), a key measure of profitability, was 50.3 yuan, 3.7 percent lower from a year ago.

The COVID-19 outbreak forced many people to stay at home, which hit demand for mobile traffic, industry insiders said.

Meanwhile, China Mobile invested 52.2 billion yuan to build 188,000 5G base stations in 50 cities nationwide during the first six months, more than half its national target for building 300,000 such stations in 2020.

5G, which offers faster mobile Internet access and lower latency, has become the mainstream standard in the smartphone market. 5G users and the waning of the pandemic may improve the carrier’s profitability in the second half, said analysts. 

In July, 5G models took 62.4 percent of market share in the domestic smartphone market, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the top industry regulator.

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