Feeds

China Mobile becomes world's biggest mobe operator

Didn't need any iPhone deal either

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?