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China Mobile ends 2023 with 465 million 5G subscribers

China Mobile reported a net addition of 138 million 5G subscribers during 2023

China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, ended last year with a total of 465 million 5G subscribers, up 42.1% year-on-year, the carrier said in its earnings statement.

China Mobile reported a net addition of 138 million 5G subscribers during 2023.

The company’s net profit last year increased 5% year-on-year to CNY131.7 billion ($18.3 billion) while the telco’s operating revenue grew by 6.3% year-on-year to CNY863.5 billion.

In the mobile segment, the telco reached a total of 991 million subscribers at the end of 2023, up 1.6% year-on-year.

Capital expenditure totaled CNY180.3 billion, accounting for 20.9% of telecommunications services revenue and decreasing by 1.9 percentage points year-on-year.

“We have accumulatively brought into use more than 1.94 million 5G base stations. We planned for the deployment of the world’s largest RedCap commercial network and built the world’s first 5G new voice network,” the company said.

China hiked its investment in 5G networks to CNY190.5 billion last year, according to the latest official data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China’s 5G investments increased by 5.7% last year versus the previous year, representing over 45% of the country’s overall investments in telecom fixed-assets. China’s total investment in 5G base stations has reached CNY730 billion last year.

Chinese companies China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile and China Tower invested CNY420.5 billion in fixed assets last year, up 0.3% from the previous year, according to official data.

China had 11.6 million mobile communication base stations as of the end of last year, of which 3.4 million were 5G base stations. 5G base stations currently account for 29% of total mobile base stations in China. The ratio is 7.8 percentage points higher compared to the end of 2022.

According to the report, China’s telecom sector generated overall revenues of CNY1.68 trillion in 2023, an increase of 6.2% over the previous year.

The coverage penetration of 5G technology in China was expected to reach 90% as of the end of 2023, local newspaper Global Times previously reported, citing an executive from local carrier China Mobile.

Bian Yannan, deputy general manager of planning and construction department at China Mobile, had said that this penetration rate was expected to be achieved thanks to the deployment of 360,000 5G base stations during 2023.


Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.