China Mobile says Q1 net jumps 37 percent

HONG KONG, April 21 (Reuters) - China Mobile 0941.HK, the world's top cellular carrier, on Monday posted a 37 percent rise in its quarterly net profit on strong subscriber growth.

China Mobile, which dominates the world’s biggest telecoms market, posted a profit of 24.1 billion yuan ($3.44 billion) for the three months ended March 31, compared to 17.56 billion yuan a year earlier.

The result fell a tad shy of an average of forecasts for net profit of 24.65 billion yuan, according to four analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

As market saturation slows the growth of new mobile subscribers in big cities, China Mobile and smaller rival Unicom 0762.HKCHU.N are pushing to sign up customers in less-affluent smaller cities and rural areas.

China Mobile’s stock, which fell 16 percent in the period, closed up 2.43 percent on Monday before the results were announced. ($1=6.999 Yuan) (Reporting by Vinicy Chan; Editing by Lincoln Feast)