China Telecom Corporation has reported operating revenues of CNY83.18 billion (USD13.48 billion) for the first quarter to 31 March 2014, up 6.9% year-on-year. Revenues excluding mobile handset sales climbed 8.1% to CNY74.15 billion, the firm said. While EBITDA was up just 0.6% at CNY25.09 billion, net profit attributable to shareholders rose 17.9% to CNY5.55 billion.
In operational terms, China Telecom claimed 183.2 million mobile subscribers at the end of March, down from 185.6 million three months earlier but up on the September 2013 figure of 181.1 million. The decrease in the first quarter was attributed to increased competition in the market driven by the launch of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. The number of 3G customers stood at 104.1 million at 31 March 2014, a net increase of just over one million in the three months. Meanwhile, the fixed broadband subscriber base stood at 102.3 million at 31 March 2014, with 2.2 million net customer adds in the first three months of this year. The wireline telephony sector continues to decline, with the number of PSTN lines in service dropping by almost three million in the first quarter of 2014 to reach 152.8 million.
China Telecom began offering TD-LTE 4G wireless broadband services in February 2014 and it has applied for a licence to enable it to provide services based on FDD LTE technology, which is the favoured 4G standard of the majority of cellular operators worldwide.