Thursday, March 15, 2012

China Mobile: the Chase for Value Added Services

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator, saw its revenue increase 8.8% in 2011 to RMB528.0 billion (US$83.6 billion) as it user base rose 11.2% to approach the 650 million mark. Profits rose 5.2% to RMB125.9 billion (US$19.9 billion), with profit margin reaching 23.8%. EBITDA rose 4.9% over last year to RMB251.0 billion, with EBITDA margin reaching 47.5%.

In a market described as "exuberant" for information and telecommunications service, China Mobile acknowledges that it must now face slower growth in user additions due to higher mobile penetration levels across China, intensified competition, industry convergence and a massive network upgrade to TD-LTE over the coming years. The company said its long-term strategy is to be a "Smart Pipe + Open Platform" extending across a full range of mobile life services.

Some notable operating metrics for China Mobile in 2011:

Added 65.55 million customers, bringing the total customer base close to 650 million by the end of 2011.

Total voice usage volume was 3,887.2 billion minutes, up 12.3% over last year.

Average minutes of usage per user per month (MOU) reached 525 minutes.

Average revenue per user per month (ARPU) was RMB71 (US$11.24).

Data services revenue increased 15.4% over last year, accounting for 26.4% of operating revenue.

Wireless data traffic surged 45.0% in revenue over last year and accounted for 8.4% of operating revenue.

Wireless Music service contributed RMB22.1 billion (US$3.50 billion) in revenue.

Mobile Reading, Mobile Video and Mobile Mailbox growing rapidly. Mobile Reading reached RMB627 million in revenue, up 7.8%; Mobile Video reached RMB571 million, up 136%; and Mobile Mailbox reached RMB1,539 million, up 60%.

The 3G customer base exceeded 51 million by year's end. 3G customer market share is over 40%.

3G network coverage reached county level and above cities, with nearly 220,000 3G base stations and good network quality.

Network quality continues to improve. In 2011, GSM call drop rate was reduced to 0.32%, successful connection rate
increased to 99.26%.

The GSM network now encompasses 700,000 base stations with network utilization between 70 to 75%.

The TD-SCDMA network has close to 220,000 base stations. Data traffic here was up 58.4%.

China Mobile has 2.2 million WLAN APs in operation.

CAPEX was RMB128.5 billion (US$20.34 billion), representing 24.3% of operating revenue.

For 2012, the CAPEX budget is projected at RMB131.9 billion (US$20.88 billion).

In 2012, Phase 2 of the TD-LTE rollout will reach 20,000 base stations in 9 cities. By the end of 2013, China Mobile aims to have 200,000 TD-LTE base stations enabled.