China Mobile third quarter profit rises 3.7 percent

China Mobile now has 633 million customers

China Mobile, the country's largest mobile operator, saw net profit in its third quarter increase by about 3.7 percent from the same period year ago, according to data published by the company Thursday.

In the quarter ending Sept. 30, profit reached 30.69 billion yuan (US$4.8 billion), up from 29.6 billion yuan a year ago. Revenue in the quarter totalled 133.7 billion yuan, up 8.9 percent from the 122.8 billion yuan of a year earlier.

The third-quarter results were calculated from data released by China Mobile showing the financial results for the past nine months. China Mobile's customer base is now at 633.5 million, an increase of 16.7 million from the second quarter. It now has 43.1 million customers on its 3G (third generation) network.

China Mobile is seeking to raise its revenues by getting more uses to switch to its faster 3G network and buy more data services. The selling of smartphones has been key to this as China Mobile aims to offer a larger variety of handsets to attract users to its network.

The carrier has also been in ongoing talks with Apple about selling its iPhone in the country. Currently, rival China Unicom is the sole official carrier in the country.

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