China Telecom Wednesday said net profit fell 17 percent year on year in the fourth quarter due to the popularity of mobile broadband which eroded income from the traditional fixed-line phone business.
The country's biggest fixed-line network operator earned a net profit of 2.36 billion yuan (US$375 million), beating the 2.04 billion yuan estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Its revenue in the fourth quarter rose 17 percent to 73.1 billion yuan from 62.6 billion yuan a year earlier.
China Telecom, whose spending will rise 40 percent to more than 75 billion yuan this year, said the popularity of mobile broadband and related services has hit the traditional fixed-line business. At the end of 2012, the telco, the country's third-biggest behind China Mobile and China Unicom, had 90.12 million broadband users, up 17 percent year on year.
China Telecom's mobile data traffic volume almost tripled last year's level, Chairman Wang Xiaochu said. Last year, China Telecom began selling Apple Inc's iPhone which lured high-end customers and boosted income of data services, industry insiders said.
For full 2012, Hong Kong-listed China Telecom's net profit totaled 14.92 billion yuan, a decline of 9.5 percent from the year before.