October 22, 2012 / 8:51 AM / 5 years ago

China Mobile's Q3 net profit up 1.3 percent, beats estimates

Customers look at a mobile phone at a branch of China Mobile in Wuhan, Hubei province April 20, 2012.Stringer

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Mobile Ltd (0941.HK), the world's biggest mobile operator by subscribers, posted a 1.3 percent gain in third-quarter net profit, beating estimates slightly, after luring new users to its network with cheap handsets and cutting phone call rates.

China Mobile, which has more than two times as many subscribers as the population of the United States, earned 31.1 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) in July-to-September, according to calculations by Reuters based on nine-month profit data released on Monday.

That compares with an average forecast of 30.5 billion yuan in a Reuters poll of nine analysts and a net profit of 30.7 billion yuan a year earlier.

China Mobile had a net profit of 93.31 billion yuan in the first nine months compared with 91.98 billion yuan a year earlier, the company said after the Hong Kong market close.

Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Ryan Woo

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