China Telecom, the country’s third-largest mobile phone company by subscribers. posted a larger than expected gain in their quarterly profit, as iPhone users helped boost data usage.
Net income rose 20 percent to 4.5 billion yuan ($740 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30 from 3.75 billion yuan a year earlier, the Beijing-based company said in a statement on its Website today. That beat the 4.41 billion-yuan average of three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The company is reaping the benefits of being one of two wireless providers that offer the iPhone in China. The second is China Unicom. Both companies beat earnings estimates in the quarter, while China Mobile, who has yet to offer the iPhone to customers, missed estimates.
China Telecom’s sales in the third quarter rose 12 percent to 80.7 billion yuan from 71.96 billion yuan
China Telecom’s mobile unit added 9.15 million 3G users in the third quarter, bringing it to 96.5 million, its total wireless subscriber base 181.1 million users at the end of the third quarter.
The carrier ranks behind China Mobile and China Unicom in wireless users in China, as China Mobile has 755 million wireless subscribers, while China Unicom has 273 million, the carriers said this month.