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China Mobile Seen Strong in 3rd-Quarter

China Mobile (HK: 0941) is expected to report third-quarter earnings growth of 20 to 40 percent this week as it grabs market share and profits from smaller rival China Unicom Ltd. (SHA: 600050).


China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd., the world’s biggest mobile carrier by subscribers, has been steadily widening its lead over Unicom in the last six months as the former consolidates its No. 1 position while the latter tries to determine a clear strategy, analysts said.


Unicom has been caught up in a choice between focusing on higher or lower-spending customers, as well as what kind of emphasis to place on its two networks — a newer one based on a standard called CDMA and an older one based on the GSM standard popular in Europe.


Taking advantage of the lack of focus at its main rival, China Mobile has boosted its subscriber base by 10 percent during the six months through August. Unicom’s base has grown just 7 percent over the period, according to company data.


China Mobile controls about two-thirds of China’s mobile market — the world’s largest with about 370 million subscribers — while Unicom controls most of the remainder.


The market is expected to approach 400 million by the end of this year, and reach more than 430 million by the end of 2006 — equivalent to one mobile account for every three of China’s 1.3 billion people, according to Bank of China International.


(Shenzhen Daily October 21, 2005)


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