China Telecom weathers pandemic, achieves 16 million 5G subscribers

China Telecom pandemic
Photo by kato.84

For the first quarter of 2020, China Telecom firmly grasped the trend of digital transformation of the economy and society and actively promoted the commercialisation of 5G. As affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Group’s subscriber development declined. The Company took various measures to proactively respond and to maintain smooth and stable communications, endeavouring to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

The company accelerated the upgrade of 4G subscribers to 5G. The number of mobile subscribers was approximately 337 million, of which the number of 5G package subscribers was approximately 16.61 million with a net addition of 12 million. Handset data traffic increased by 37.4% over the same period last year and continued to maintain rapid growth while the reduction of the average mobile service revenue per user per month (ARPU) was narrowed compared with that of last year.

China Telecom continuously enriched its Smart Family product and service portfolio including e-Surfing HD, Whole-home Wi-Fi, Family Cloud and e-Surfing Webcam. The total number of wireline broadband subscribers was approximately 152 million and the revenues from Smart Family applications and services increased by 106.3% over the same period of last year, which continued to strengthen as a driving force of the broadband blended ARPU.  

The company actively grasped the new informatisation demand generated during the pandemic and thoroughly exploited the competitive advantage of cloud-network integration while enhancing the enrichment of integrated information services. Enterprise applications such as SME Cloud migration and Cloud Conferencing were promoted while the applications for distance education such as Education Cloud and Cloud Classroom and healthcare applications like Healthcare Cloud were promptly launched. Revenues from Cloud services maintained rapid growth.

Handset data traffic represents the data traffic generated from 3G, 4G and 5G handset internet access. Smart Family applications and services include services such as Whole-home Wi-Fi and Family Cloud services, etc. Broadband blended ARPU is calculated based on the sum of monthly average revenues from Smart Family and broadband access divided by the number of average broadband subscribers.

For the first quarter of 2020, the operating revenues of the Group were RMB94,793 million (US$14 million), of which the service revenues were RMB92,137 million (US$13 million), representing an increase of 0.7% over the same period last year.

The company seized favourable market opportunities and completed the issuance of the first tranche of 2020 company bonds during the period. The investment income and share of profits of associates increased by 36.9% over the same period last year which was mainly due to the increase in the share of profit of China Tower Corporation Limited for the period.

In the future, China Telecom Group plans to proactively respond to the impact of the pandemic and grasp the new changes in market demands with firm adherence to customer and market-orientated approaches and will accelerate the promotion of co-build and co-share of its 5G network.

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