China Mobile ends H1 with 393 million 5G subscribers

China Mobile ends H1 with 393 million 5G subscribers

China Mobile reported a net addition of 130 million 5G subscribers during the first half of 2023

China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, ended the first half of the year with a total of 393 million 5G subscribers, up 49.7% year-on-year, the carrier said in its earnings statement.

China Mobile reported a net addition of 130 million 5G subscribers during the first half of 2023.

The company’s net profit in the first half of the year increased 8.4% year-on-year to CNY76.2 billion ($10.6 billion) while the telco’s operating revenue grew by 6.8% year-on-year to CNY530.7 billion.

Mobile service revenue rose 1.8% to CNY305.6 billion, with overall ARPU flat at CNY52.40.

China Mobile also said its total connections reached 3.19 billion at the end of June, with a net addition of 250 million during the period. In the mobile segment, the telco reached a total of 985 million subscribers at the end of the first half of 2023, up 1.6% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, China Mobile’s capex declined by 11.5% to CNY81.4 billion, with 52% of the capex in the period earmarked for its 5G infrastructure.

The Chinese carrier deployed a total of 301,000 5G base stations to take the total to near 1.8 million.

Chinese operators have outperformed the country’s own construction target for 5G base stations, deploying almost 3 million by the end of June, six months ahead of schedule, according to a recent report by South China Morning Post.

According to the report, Chinese operators deployed nearly 600,000 5G base stations in the April-June period alone.

“As of the end of June, the number of 5G base stations in China had reached 2.937 million, covering all urban areas of prefecture-level and county-level cities and the coverage is continuously expanding in both breadth and depth,” said Zhao Zhiguo, chief engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

China is forecasted to reach 1 billion 5G subscribers by 2025, while the number of 5G users by 2030 is expected to reach 1.6 billion, according to a recent report by the GSMA.

In 2022, mobile technologies and services generated 5.5% of China’s GDP – a contribution that amounted to $1.1 trillion of economic value added. According to the report, 5G technology will add $290 billion to the Chinese economy in 2030, with benefits spread across industries.

5G will overtake 4G in 2024 to become the dominant mobile technology in China, according to the report. “4G and 5G dominance in China means legacy networks are now being phased out. While most users have been migrated to 4G and 5G, legacy networks continue to support various IoT services. However, some estimates suggest that legacy networks could be almost entirely shut down in China by 2025,” the study reads.

Juan Pedro Tomás

Juan Pedro Tomás

Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication’s correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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