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Chinese carriers add 55.5 million new 5G customers in March

Chinese carriers add 55.5 million new 5G customers in March

Local telcos aim to build 600,000 new 5G base stations this year across China, including 134,000 already built in the first quarter

Chinese operators recorded a net gain of 55.5 million 5G subscribers in March, according to the carriers’ latest available figures.

China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, added a total of 41.13 million 5G subscribers during the month. The operator said it ended March with 466.5 million 5G subscribers, compared to 188.76 million 5G customers in March 2021.

China Mobile has added a total of 79.75 million subscribers in the 5G segment during the first quarter of the year.

China Mobile’s overall mobile subscriber base at the end of March reached 966.3 million, up compared to 960.7 million in the previous month.

Rival operator China Unicom said it added a total of 5.75 million 5G subscribers during March. China Unicom ended the month with 170.65 million 5G subscribers.

Meanwhile, China Telecom added 8.61 million 5G subscribers in March to take its total 5G subscribers base to 210.75 million. During Q1, the telco added a total of 22.95 million 5G subscribers.

China Telecom’s overall mobile base amounted to 379.5 million subscribers at the end of March, after adding 3.5 million customers during the month.

Chinese operators aim to build 600,000 new 5G base stations this year, including 134,000 already built in the first quarter. China expects to end this year with nearly 2 million 5G base stations.

Chinese carriers have deployed a total of 654,000 base stations nationwide during last year. The 5G network now covers all prefecture-level cities, more than 98% of county-level urban areas and 80% of township-level urban areas across the country.

China is expected to reach 892 million connections in the 5G segment in 2025, according to a report recently published by the GSMA.

According to the ‘The Mobile Economy China” report, GSMA expects 5G connections in the country to represent 52% of total mobile lines in 2025, compared to 29% in 2021.

Quarterly results

China Mobile’s overall service revenue increased by 9.1% to CNY193.8 billion ($29.9 billion) in Q1, with product sales up 61.6% to CNY33.6 billion.

The carrier recorded a net profit of CNY25.6 billion during the period, climbing 6.5% year-on-year, while operating revenue grew 14.6% to CNY227.3 billion.

Meanwhile, China Telecom’s mobile service revenue increased 5% year-on-year in Q1 to CNY49 billion. Net profit rose 12.1% to CNY7.2 billion with operating revenue growing 11.9% to CNY119.6 billion. Industrial service revenue climbed 23.2% to CNY29.4 billion.

China Unicom reported that its mobile service revenue surged 2.2% year-on-year to CNY42 billion.

The carrier’s net profit grew 20.6% to CNY4.6 billion, with operating revenue climbing 8.2% to CNY89 billion.

Also, China Unicom reported IoT sales of CNY2.1 billion in Q1, an increase of 40.7% year-on-year. The telco’s IoT connections hit 313 million as of the end of the period.  

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