Feeds

China Mobile becomes world's biggest mobe operator

Didn't need any iPhone deal either

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.