China Mobile says Q1 up 3.5 percent, meets forecasts
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest wireless carrier by subscribers, reported a 3.5 percent rise in first-quarter net profit as an increase mobile data use helped offset the impact of handset subsidies and declining voice revenue.
The carrier posted a net profit of 27.8 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) for the January-March quarter in a statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday. That was roughly in line an average forecast of 28.2 billion yuan from three analysts polled by Thomson Reuters and up from 26.9 billion yuan a year earlier.
China Mobile competes with China Unicom and China Telecom Corp Ltd in the world's biggest mobile phone market, which reached 1 billion users this year.
China Mobile has more than 600 million subscribers - more than double the U.S. population - although most subscribers are low-end users who mainly make phone calls and send text messages.
So far, it is the only carrier in China that does not have a contract with Apple Inc to sell iPhones.
The results announcement came after the Hong Kong market closed. China Mobile shares ended up 1.51 percent, beating the Hang Seng Index's 0.07 percent gain.
(Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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