China Telecom strengthens No. 3 position in market


China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (CHA), the nation’s third-largest mobile operator, said it added 2.57 million new mobile customers in July, pushing its customer base to 110.94 million subscribers. The carrier noted that through the first half of the year it had become the world’s largest CDMA-based operator, surpassing the customer base of Verizon Wireless (VZ).
China Telecom noted that it added 2.02 million 3G subscribers during July, which was a monthly record, with 3G customers numbering 23.56 million at the end of the month.
China Telecom’s larger rival – and the world’s largest mobile operator with more than 621 million customers – China Mobile Ltd. (CHL), said earlier this week that it added 5 million customers during July. Though results would appear to be a positive for China Telecom as it managed to add 40% of the customers of its rival with more than five-times its scale.
China Telecom customers are spending an average of $8.16 per month on their mobile service. The carrier also reported that data services accounted for 42.2% of its $2.052 billion in mobile service revenues through the first half of the year, an increase from the 38.1% of the $1.354 billion in mobile service revenues posted during the first half of 2010.
Including its landline operations China Telecom reported an 11.7% increase in operating revenues through the first half of the year from $16.8 billion in 2010 to $18.8 billion in 2011. Net profits also increased 10.2% to $1.5 billion, or a return of 2 cents per share.
China Telecom noted that capital expenditures increased from $2.8 billion during the first half of 2010 to nearly $3.3 billion this year, on its way to an expected $7.8 billion in total capex spending across its wireless and wireline assets for the full year.
Published reports also indicated that the carrier continued to be in talks with Apple Inc. about possibly launching the iPhone device across its network. Currently its larger rival China Unicom Co. Ltd. (CHU), which operates a W-CDMA-based network, is the only carrier in China to officially offer the device, though the country’s largest operator, China Mobile Ltd., which runs a TD-SCDMA network, recently noted that 7.4 million iPhones were currently running on its network. Verizon Wireless is the only other CDMA-based operator in the world offering a CDMA version of the iPhone.

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Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”