HONG KONG, April 22 (Reuters) - China Mobile Ltd, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, posted a 0.3 percent rise in first quarter net profit as more 3G subscribers signed on to its network.
The wireless carrier, which competes with smaller rivals China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd, reported a net profit of 27.9 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) for the January-March period from 27.8 billion yuan a year earlier, it said in a statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Monday.
Many analysts did not give forecasts for the first quarter although Deutsche Bank expected China Mobile to report a net profit of 28 billion yuan in the first quarter. The carrier has been reporting roughly flat to single-digit percentage rises for its quarterly net profit over the past year.
China Mobile has more than 700 million mobile subscribers on its network, twice the population of the United States, but it is also the only operator in China without a contract to carry Apple Inc’s iPhones due to its incompatible proprietary TD-SCDMA network.
The results announcement came after the Hong Kong market closed. China Mobile shares ended up 0.55 percent versus the Hang Seng Index’s 0.14 percent gain.
Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Matt Driskill