Although the first three quarters of 2011 have been stable for China Mobile, a statement from the world’s largest operator acknowledge that there were still many factors which “posed challenges to the group” going forward, such as market saturation in China and the advent of new technologies.
The operator observed that revenue levels were up over the previous year, and that there had been “relatively rapid growth” across the macro economy. China Mobile’s profit between January and September 2011 was up 5.4% on the same period last year – CNY91.98 billion (US$14.4 billion) and CNY87.25 billion respectively – while revenue rose 8.8% to CNY 383.85 billion.
Similarly, the operator’s subscriber numbers have also risen, with a significant rise in the third quarter – 633.52 million at the end of September, compared to 616.79 million at the end of June. Of these, nearly 7% (43.16 million) are now 3G subscribers, a rise of just under 1% over the end of the previous quarter.
There have however been negative factors in the form of falling ARPU and average revenue per minute; at the same time, multiple SIM ownership has risen along with low-usage customers. The operator claimed that these issues were countered by “favourable growth in the vale added business, especially the wireless data business.”