Unicom 1H profit slips on high 3G costs

Fiona Chau
telecomasia.net
China Unicom posted a 9% drop in first-half net profit, as the W-CDMA operator spent heavily on handset subsidies to attract more 3G users.
 
Net profit for the six months ended June 30 fell to 2.65 billion yuan ($414 million) from 2.92 billion yuan a year earlier, despite revenue rising 23% to 101.4 billion yuan.
 
Mobile revenue climbed 25% to 48.97 billion yuan, of which 26.9% came from the firm’s 3G business, which grew 230% year over year to 13.2 billion yuan, mainly due to a three-fold growth of 3G subscribers from last June.
 
China Unicom, the country’s second largest mobile operator by subscriber number, added 24.6 million new mobile subscribers in the first half, of which 9.9. million were 3G users.
 
The operator said earlier this month that its mobile subscriber base rose at monthly rate of 1.17% to 183.74 million in July. Its 3G subscribers totaled 25.82 million in July, up 1.87 million from June.
 
Though China Unicom has been trailing smaller rival China Telecom in the race to add 3G subscribers, it maintained a 3G APRU of 117.5 yuan, higher than China Telecom’s 80 yuan.
 
China Unicom said earlier it aimed to add 25 million 3G users in 2011, and the company is confident of meeting its target.
 

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