China Telecom reaches 86m 5G customers as it plans Shanghai

China Telecom reaches 86m 5G customers as it plans Shanghai share listing  

11 March 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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China Telecom has reported 2020 revenues up by 4.7% on the year with earnings up 1.4%.

The company said its revenues were 393.6 billion renminbi in 2020 — equivalent to US$60.7 billion. EBITDA was 118.9 billion renminbi, said the company, equivalent to $18.3 billion.

Meanwhile the company said that “5G achieved a promising start, with 86.5 million people now subscribing to 5G packages, 24.6% of the company’s mobile customers. “The number of mobile subscribers reached 351 million with net addition of 15.45 million, and the market share expanded to 22.0%.”

The small print of the company’s revenue breakdown show that 5G customers are spending on average 65.6 renminbi ($10.11) each, compared with 44.1 renminbi ($6.79) for mobile customers as a whole.

However Ke Ruiwen (pictured), chairman and CEO, did not comment in his annual report to shareholders a report by Reuters that the company is planning to list its shares on the Shanghai stock exchange.

China Telecom is already listed on the Hong Kong exchange, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) until January. The NYSE delisted the shares of China Telecom, as well as those of China Mobile and China Unicom.

Reuters said that China Telecom plans to raise $4.1 billion by selling up to 12.09 billion shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. That will be 13% of its enlarged capital base.

According to Reuters the three Chinese telcos are appealing against the NYSE decision, which followed a move by former President Donald Trump to ban US investment in companies that he alleged were backed by the Chinese military.

China Telecom said the Shanghai share listing will “broaden [its] sources of funds, enhance capital strengths and improve risk tolerance”, according to Reuters.