China Mobile remains the world's most profitable mobile operator, and is showing signs of extending it lead.
An analysis of quarterly results from the world's top 50 mobile operators shows that China Mobile's total gross profit was $10.12 billion (€7.5 billion) during the period, ABI Research said. This puts the Chinese incumbent well ahead of second-ranked Verizon, with $8.51 billion.
China Mobile still trails its peers in terms of gross profit per subscriber – its $16.42 average puts it in just 48th place.
But the operator's pure scale puts it in a position to remain on top, particularly as more of its users transition to 3G and (soon) to 4G, according to ABI research associate Marina Lu.
“While China Mobile’s profit per subscriber is substantially lower than Verizon Wireless’ and AT&T’s, there are signs that China Mobile will continue to extend its lead over the other carriers,” she said.
Other Asian operators making it into the top 10 included NTT DoCoMo, in sixth place at $2.9 billion in gross quarterly profit, and China Telecom in seventh at $2.85 billion.
The relative positions on the top 10 list were overwhelmingly static this quarter, with all of the top nine retaining their places. The only significant mover was Japan's KDDI, which raised six spots to tenth place, generating $1.68 billion in gross profit for Q2.