Feeds

China Mobile becomes world's biggest mobe operator

Didn't need any iPhone deal either

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

China Mobile's half-year profits topped $9.6bn, making it the largest mobile operator in the world by customers and profits, and six times bigger than the nearest local competition.

That $9.6bn profit is based on revenue of almost $40bn, stomping all over the local competition and topping Vodafone's annual figure of $18.82bn. The local competition is compared with this pretty graph at Penn Olson, which shows that China Telecom only managed one-sixth of its rival's takings, while China Unicom lagged well behind with a profit of only $406m despite (or because of) having an exclusive on Apple's iPhone.

That exclusive is costing China Unicom a huge amount in handset subsidies. Unicom is the only company of the three Chinese operators to see a decline in profits in the first half of 2011, and that's despite increasing revenues more than 22 per cent. It seems much of the cash, $478m to be precise, went on subsidising 3G handsets – most of which will have been iPhones.

China Mobile makes about £6.68 in revenue from each user each month (ARPU), which compares badly to Vodafone UK, which rakes in an average of £21.70 from every prepaid customer (£37.10 from those with contracts). But if you compare this with Vodafone India's ARPU of £2.34, it looks far more healthy.

China's mobile industry is still expanding as penetration is still some way off saturation. Around 900 million mobile subscriptions serve a population around 1.3 billion, so there's still room for expansion within China.

Not that the operators are limiting their horizons to their home country. China Telecom has been talking about launching a UK MVNO aimed at Chinese people living abroad (400,000 of them in the UK, according to the company) and recently expanded its European operations to look specifically at acquiring Western companies.

China Mobile is state-owned, so its profits go to the Chinese government. And its profits are unlikely to fall any time soon, especially with Tim Cook (now Apple's CEO) seen dropping by for a visit to lend weight to the rumours that Unicom's exclusive won't last long and that China Mobile will be getting the next iPhone for its 4G network.

Competition has certainly driven the Chinese mobile industry, but it is not clear how, or if, that competition can be maintained with one player dominating the market to such a large extent. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.