Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

China Mobile sees rapid growth in IoT

Steve Rogerson
August 16, 2018

In the first half of 2018, China Mobile’s IoT business achieved rapid growth, with a net addition of 155 million IoT smart connections, bringing the total number of IoT smart connections to 384 million. Revenue from its IoT business recorded a year-on-year growth of 47.6%.
“We are building out a high-quality NB-IoT network and will realise continuous coverage to areas at town level and above across the country by the end of this year,” said a company statement. “At the same time, we will continue to promote our self-developed IoT open platform OneNet, as well as constructing a high performance IoT smart service system, in order to provide quality one-stop service for our extensive IoT customer base.”
In the foreseeable future, platforms and applications associated with areas including internet of vehicles, manufacturing, smart wearables, education and healthcare it said would become important drivers sustaining revenue growth of the company.
The operator’s total number of connections has increased to 1.425bn, comprising 906m mobile connections, 135m wireline broadband connections and 384m IoT smart connections.
“We found it particularly encouraging that in some areas, machine-to-machine connections have already outnumbered human-to-human connections,” it said.
China Mobile’s financial performance in the first half of 2018 remained healthy. It recorded operating revenue of RMB391.8bn, up by 2.9% compared with the same period last year. Telecommunications services revenue was RMB356.1bn, up by 5.5% compared with the same period last year.
“We continued to exercise delicate cost management in order to boost the company’s cost efficiency,” said the statement.
For the near future, it said it would proactively apply AI, big data and cloud computing technology in all aspects of operations to further its digital transformation. Secondly, it will participate in the evolution of information and communications technology to build out its infrastructure that will enable a new generation of smart connection. Thirdly, it will continue to promote open operations and collaboration with leading internet companies and industry partners, working together strategically to create an innovative ecosystem that benefits all and promotes value sharing.
In the first half of 2018, EBITDA grew 3.7% compared with the same period last year, reaching RMB145.9bn. Profit attributable to equity shareholders grew 4.7% year-on-year to RMB65.6bn.
“In the first half of 2018, market competition has intensified and cross-sector convergence has increased pace,” said Shang Bing (pictured), chairman of China Mobile. “At the same time, operators were required to take further actions operationally to comply with the state policy of speed upgrade and tariff reduction. Faced with this complex environment, across the China Mobile business, we closely adhered to the big-connectivity strategy and took considered moves to proactively tackle both market competition and other emerging challenges, launching various initiatives for the personal mobile, household, corporate and emerging businesses.
“There was further integration of these four important growth engines and, at the same time, a step-up in our reforms and enhancements to our management efficiency. Thanks to these collective and coordinated efforts, we have manoeuvred along the course of our development and maintained satisfactory growth in our financial performance.”
China Mobile says it has attached high importance to 5G research and development, as well as 5G trial tests. Following its participation in the finalisation of the first set of international 5G technology standards in the first half of 2018, it will continue to roll out trial tests on the 5G network and other tests on 5G applications in the second half of 2018, as well as investing resources into a 5G joint innovation centre and studying the possibility of cross-industry integration and applications that will speed up the commercialisation of 5G technology.
“We are keen to generate returns on our investments and will plan our future investments on 5G taking into consideration the level of maturity of the industry and business models that emerge,” said the statement.