China Telecom has booked its second straight quarterly profit, lifted by a rise in data usage from 3G subscribers following its introduction of the iPhone last year.
According to a press release on Tuesday, the country's third largest telco saw second quarter net profit rise 21 percent to 5.52 billion yuan (US$902 million). This was on the back of a 14 percent rise in revenue to 79.7 billion yuan.
In the first half of the year, the average monthly data usage of 3G handset users exceeded 168MB, representing an increase of 51 percent over the same period last year, stated the press release. It added the total Internet access traffic of 3G handset users almost tripled while revenues from Internet access by handset users nearly doubled reaching 9.8 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion).
Wang Xiaochu, chairman and CEO of the company, was optimistic the growth in social media and demand for information would spur opportunities for further scale expansion of its 3G service.
However he warned there were still uncertainties in domestic regulatory policies amid intensifying competition from the emergence of technologies. "The cross-sector competition of mobile Internet gradually emerged. In future, we will face new challenges," he said.
In the second half of the year, China Telecom said it would seize the "present golden window of opportunity" and focus on accelerating the scale expansion of strategic 3G services and wireline broadband services.
Earlier this week, China Telecom launched its own mobile chat app Yixin in a bid to address competition from OTT players such as WeChat. This echoes concerns from the country's largest telco China Mobile last week, which posted a 2.5 percent rise in second quarter net profit at 35.2 billion yuan (US$5.8 billion).