China Mobile posts 4.1 percent rise in first-quarter profit

FILE PHOTO: A woman uses her mobile phone in front of a China Mobile office in downtown Shanghai October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Mobile Ltd 0941.HK, the world's largest telecom carrier, on Friday said profit for the first three months of the year rose 4.1 percent, driven by its strong mobile business.

Profit for January-March was 25.8 billion yuan ($4.10 billion) compared with 24.8 billion yuan a year ago, while revenue rose 0.8 percent to 166.7 billion yuan.

The company had 672 million 4G customers at end-March, with handset data traffic in the first quarter rising 139 percent on year, China Mobile said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

China’s state-owned telecom operators have been asked to continue raising service speed and cut rates as Beijing seeks to deepen reforms in the sector.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Sunil Nair