Profits are getting harder to come by for Chinese telcos, thanks to the recession and increased competition.
China Telecom profit fell 33.9% in the first three quarters, while China Mobile posted an increase of just 1.8% in its net.
Fixed-line and CDMA operator China Telecom posted 15.3% higher operating revenue of 154.75 billion yuan but said its profit of 11.39 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) had been hit by “an increase in marketing initiatives.”
The carrier is an aggressive new entrant to the mobile business, where it signed up 7.5 million customers in the third quarter to take its total adds for the nine months to 18.9 million and the total customer base to 46.8 million.
Its fixed-line business continues to bleed customers, however, losing nearly 5 million lines for the quarter while adding just 2.4 million broadband users.
China Mobile blamed “increasing penetration” and “changes in the competitive environment” for the slower growth. It added 15.25 million customers in the quarter to take its total to 508.4 million at September 30.
It posted net income of 83.94 billion yuan for the three quarters. Revenue was up 8.9% to 326.98 billion yuan, but ebitda margin was down 1.7 points to 51.3%.