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China Mobile adds 18mn mobile subs in first half – and that’s not a typo

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China Mobile has reported its numbers for the first half, with the ridiculous figures just demonstrating how much potential there is for those who can crack the Great Firewall of China.

Total revenues stood at roughly $57 billion for the first six months of the year, a 2.9% year-on-year increase, while service revenues accounted for approximately $52 billion of that total. Amazingly, the company also saw net adds of 18.61 million mobile customers over the period, 27.32 million of which were 4G subscriptions. The total subscription base has now exceeded 900 million, with 4G penetration now standing at 74.7%.

“In the first half of 2018, market competition has intensified and cross-sector convergence has increased pace,” said China Mobile Chairman Shang Bing.

“At the same time, operators were required to take further actions operationally to comply with the state policy of ‘speed upgrade and tariff reduction’. Faced with this complex environment, across the China Mobile business, we closely adhered to the ‘Big Connectivity’ strategy and took considered moves to proactively tackle both market competition and other emerging challenges, launching various initiatives for the personal mobile, household, corporate and emerging businesses.”

“There was further integration of these four important growth engines, and at the same time a step-up in our reforms and enhancements to our management efficiency. Thanks to these collective and coordinated efforts, we have maneuverer along the course of our development and maintained satisfactory growth in our financial performance.”

On the network side of things, the team added an eye-watering 190,000 4G base stations to the landscape over the first six months, while future projects will continue to focus on improving in-door coverage across the country. Not only is the infrastructure investment required for the challenges of tomorrow’s 5G world, China Mobile also noted today’s market is becoming increasingly competitive as a new wave of high-data, low-cost tariffs hit the market.

In response, the team ‘activated tariff elasticity’ to meet customer demands and reduce subscription churn, while also creating a new tariff structure which leans on the increase data usage. Finally, the team improved the depth of its content offerings. With these three pillars in place, total handset data traffic increased by 153% across the six months.

Looking at the home broadband business, this is also heading north. The total number of subscribers now stands at 18.8 million with the team collecting more than 57% of the industry’s net additions across the half. The total number of broadband subscribers in China is now 128 million. While this is an incredible number, estimates put the total number of households in the country at around 450 million. The room for growth is astronomical.

When talking about the footprint and subscriber base China Mobile has, it is almost comical.

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