updated 12:31 pm EDT, Wed August 21, 2013
Lays out plans to build out LTE network
China Telecom saw mobile revenues grow 28.3 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2013, according to the carrier's interim financial statement. It added 18.3 million 3G subscribers during the period, for a total of 87.33 million, or roughly half its entire mobile subscriber pool. Data consumption rose 51 percent, while revenues off it grew 39 percent to 26.2 billion yuan ($4.3 billion).
The carrier's performance is likely attributable to the iPhone, which it only started selling last year. Until then only China Unicom was available as an official iPhone carrier in the country, diverting some potential subscribers. Still others may have been tempted to buy an iPhone for China Mobile; although Mobile has yet to sign a deal with Apple, the carrier is believed to have millions of people using unlocked iPhones on its network.
Telecom CEO Wang Xiaochu says that his company is planning to expand its 3G network, and built out LTE, something that will incur significant capital expenditures. The technology is needed, though, to support modern smartphones, including the iPhone. The iPhone 5 already supports LTE, but not on any Chinese network; the country lacks much LTE infrastructure, and operates on different frequency bands.