Chinese telecom operators saw their revenue grow 8.9% year on year to a combined 564.26 billion yuan ($92 billion) in the first half of 2013, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The telecom industry's total business volume was 687.02 billion yuan ($111.8 billion) for the six month ended June 30, up 7.9% from the same period a year earlier and 0.3 percentage point higher than the country’s GDP, said the MIIT.
During the period China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom altogether poured 29.66 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) in expanding their 3G network coverage by adding 135,000 base stations.
It paid off. The three cellcos added 86 million 3G users in the first half, of which 57.6% were using China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network, bringing the country’s 3G subscriber base to 319 million.
The strong uptake on 3G and the popularity of smartphones also boosted mobile data usage by 50% in the first half. At the same time, mobile internet traffic jumped 62.6% to 5.77 trillion gigabytes in the first half.
While 3G mobile penetration stood at 27.1%, lower than the industry level, 3G users consumed an average of 212.3 MB each month, 1.7 times higher than the monthly average data usage of overall mobile customers.
This drove mobile data and internet revenue up 55.8% to 85.17 billion yuan in the first half as a result.