In the first quarter of 2024, operating revenues were RMB135,493 million, representing an increase of 3.8% over the same period of last year, of which service revenues were RMB124,347 million, representing an increase of 5.0% over the same period of last year. The profit attributable to equity holders of the Company was RMB8,597 million, representing an increase of 7.7% over the same period of last year. Basic earnings per share were RMB0.09; EBITDA was RMB35,100 million, representing an increase of 3.6% over the same period of last year. EBITDA margin (calculated based on EBITDA divided by service revenues) was 28.2%.
The Company continuously enhanced its 5G network quality and accelerated the intelligent upgrade of 5G applications. Centred around subscribers’ demands for digitalisation under different scenes, the Company continued to expand featured applications such as 5G Mobile Phones with Direct Satellites Connection and 5G Quantum-encrypted Calls, resulting in continuous enhancement of the scale and value of mobile subscribers. In the first quarter of 2024, revenues from mobile communications services reached RMB52,226 million, representing an increase of 3.2% over the same period of last year. The total number of mobile subscribers reached 412 million with a net addition of 3.88 million. The number of 5G package subscribers reached 329 million with a net addition of 10.06 million, while the penetration rate reached 79.9%. The mobile ARPU amounted to RMB45.8, representing an increase of 0.9% over last year.
The Company continued to deepen network co-building and co-sharing with China Unicom to continuously enhance the depth and breadth of its 5G coverage. It also accelerated the consolidation and co-sharing of “one single 4G mid-band network” to jointly create 4G/5G co-shared networks that lead in terms of user experience, efficiency, and technologies. The cumulative savings of investment for both parties reached over RMB340 billion, while the annualised savings of operating costs exceeded RMB39 billion. The number of newly built 5G base stations was over 220,000 throughout the year, and the number of 5G base stations in use exceeded 1.21 million, achieving contiguous coverage for townships and above, as well as effective coverage for developed administrative villages. The number of co-shared 4G mid-band base stations exceeded 2 million, with the mid-band co-sharing rate exceeding 90%. The two parties jointly promoted the precise construction and optimisation in key locations such as airports, high-speed railways and hospitals. As a result, the satisfaction rate of its mobile network quality increased steadily with benefits of co-building and co-sharing being further unleashed. In addition, the Company proactively pushed forward the refarming of its 800MHz spectrum and obtained approval in August 2023 to refarm its 800MHz spectrum for 5G use. As of January 2024, the Company has built 250,000 800MHz base stations with 4/5G integrated service capabilities, significantly enhancing network coverage and user experience in rural areas.
The Company insisted on the integrated development of “5G + Gigabit Broadband + Gigabit WiFi” and accelerated the deep integration of fundamental connectivity, products such as Smart Family applications and new elements such as cloud, AI and security. The Company strongly promoted the integration and mutual promotion of smart community and digital village platforms and continuously added high-quality digital products and scene-based services. In the first quarter of 2024, revenues from wireline and Smart Family services reached RMB31,824 million, representing an increase of 2.2% over the same period of last year. The number of wireline broadband subscribers reached 192 million. Revenue from Smart Family increased by 10.4% year-on-year, driving the broadband blended ARPU to reach RMB48.6, representing an increase of 2.1% over last year. The value contribution from Smart Family continued to improve.
The Company firmly seized opportunities arising from the digital transformation of the economy and society to continuously develop key industries and constantly expand its ecological cooperation. The Company satisfied the demands for digitalisation from thousands of families and thousands of industries by leveraging “network + cloud + AI + applications” and promoted the rapid development of strategic emerging businesses, facilitating the in-depth integration of digital technologies with the real economy. In the first quarter of 2024, the Company’s Industrial Digitalisation service revenues reached RMB38,679 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 10.6%.
The Company developed China Telecom Cloud as the source of original cloud computing technologies with high quality and made constant breakthroughs in key technologies. With its proprietary cloud operating system TeleCloudOS 4.0 as the core, the Company has fostered a full-stack cloud technologies and products system that is technologically advanced, independent and controllable, building a cloud foundation that features multi-chip architecture in one cloud, polymorphism and multi-type computing in one cloud. China Telecom Cloud served thousands of industries for cloud migration and the use of cloud, ranking among the top in the market, with China Telecom Cloud being the framework of national cloud fully taking shape. Focusing on new requirements to cloud service providers in the era of large models, China Telecom Cloud has fully upgraded to an intelligent cloud. The Company developed “Yunxiao”, an intelligent computing acceleration platform integrating cloud, intelligent computing and supercomputing, providing the supreme computing power and highly-efficient operation and maintenance tools adapting to AI use cases. The Company also launched “Huiju”, a one-stop intelligent computing service platform, providing large model developers with a training and inferencing tool chain that is one-stop, fully linked, low-threshold and highly secured. The Company upgraded “Xirang”, a computing power distribution network platform, to fully support the unified access, packaging and scheduling of general computing, intelligent computing, and supercomputing, providing computing power operators with computing power connection and trading services. This has facilitated better utilisation of computing power resources, the realisation of computing power inclusion, the efficiency enhancement of computing power supply and the interconnection of computing power from multiple parties. The Company carried out R&D of “Zhenshi 3.0 engine”, a new-generation image and streaming fusion algorithm, driving the growth of cloud computer users by more than two times year-on-year, ranking first in China’s DaaS market, with a market share of nearly 40%. China Telecom Cloud maintained its leading market positions, including the No.1 ranking in government and administration public cloud infrastructure and the No. 1 ranking in the global telco cloud. China Telecom Cloud was the only one among the top three players in the domestic public cloud IaaS and IaaS+PaaS market to have achieved continuous growth in market share. In 2023, the revenue of the Company’s China Telecom Cloud amounted to RMB97.2 billion, representing an increase of 67.9% year-on-year.
The Company firmly seized the development opportunities in the era of AI and accelerated R&D of technologies as well as launch of applications in fields of AI and Big Data by fully leveraging the multiplier effect of data elements. The Company created the “1+N+M” Xingchen large models series product portfolio and established the base for the general-purpose large foundation model, covering four major capabilities including language, speech, visual and multimodal capabilities, while achieving open source. The Company rolled out 12 large vertical models in vertical fields such as government administration, education and transportation, while empowering more than 600 projects for use cases such as grassroots governance, smart customer service and smart city. The Company released “Xingchen MaaS platform”, providing customers with services such as one-stop large model R&D and applications including computing power, algorithms, data and tools. The Company launched 9 large models for its own use focusing on internal production and operation including network operation, operational analysis and code R&D to help itself accelerate digital transformation and push forward costs reduction and efficiency enhancement. The Company also strengthened R&D of core technologies of Big Data, sped up the deployment in the data elements market. Focusing on four major fields including Big Data PaaS, data core platform, data trading and flow and data security, the Company strove for breakthroughs in core technologies and passed the DCMM5 level certification, the highest level in national data governance. The total number of Big Data API accessed reached 4.6 billion times throughout the year, representing an increase of 45% year-on-year. The Company developed more than 50 “Xinghai Big Data” products to offer services such as financial risk control and regional insights. “Lingze data elements 2.0 platform” provided data trading service covering the whole business process and was ranked No.1 among service providers of the data elements ecology in 2023. The Company’s “data product supermarket” has been promoted and launched in 9 provinces and cities, supporting the aggregation, development and trading of data resources for customers.
The Company attaches great importance to shareholder returns and strives to enhance its profitability and cash flow generation capabilities. Taking the Company’s profitability into full consideration, alongside cash flow levels and capital needs for its future development, the Board of Directors has decided to recommend at the Annual General Meeting that a final dividend of 2023 of RMB0.090 per share (pre-tax) shall be declared. Together with the 2023 interim dividend of RMB0.1432 per share (pre-tax), which has been already distributed, the full year dividend of 2023 amounts to RMB0.2332 per share (pre-tax), and the aggregate amount of the full year dividend increased by 19.0% year-on-year. This represents over 70% of the profit attributable to equity holders of the Company for the year, successfully fulfilling the profit distribution commitment made during the Company’s A Shares issuance.

Within three years from 2024, the profit distributed in cash will gradually increase to above 75% of the profit attributable to equity holders of the Company for the year, striving to create more value for shareholders.
In 2023, the Company’s CAPEX was RMB98.8 billion, of which the proportion of Industrial Digitalisation reached 36.0%, along with an optimised CAPEX structure. The Company’s 2024 CAPEX budget is RMB96.0 billion, down 2.9% yoy, and estimated % to service revenues will decrease to under 20%.
The Company accelerated the intelligent transformation of digital information infrastructure and consolidated digital foundation to forge key cornerstones for the development of new quality productive forces. The Company proactively built the distributed computing power infrastructure with cloud-intelligence integration, training-inferencing integration as well as cloud-network-edge-terminal coordination. Focusing on the hub node regions of the national integrated computing power network, the Company strengthened the building of intelligent computing capabilities. The Company added 8.1 EFLOPS of intelligent computing power throughout the year, bringing the total to 11.0 EFLOPS, representing an increase of 279.3%. Nodes in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guizhou, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia have already possessed training resources of over a thousand GPUs. In regions such as Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau where the large model industry, technologies and talents concentrate, the Company accelerated the deployment of the new generation large-scale intelligent computing clusters. The liquid-cooling intelligent computing centre with ten-thousand GPUs in one single pool in Shanghai will be in operation in 2024. The Company advanced the revolution and upgrades of datacentres to become Artificial Intelligence Datacentres (AIDC). The Company proactively built the new-generation datacentres that support the hybrid mode of air and liquid cooling with “Two-Elastic-One-Optimised”, achieving elastic and adaptive capabilities that enable the average power for one single cabinet to range from 2kW to 50kW+, flexibly meeting requirements for the scale and centralised deployment of general computing, intelligent computing, and supercomputing power. The Company built a network of intelligent computing centres that is high-speed, lossless, and elastic, while also optimised its DCI networks with large bandwidth, wide coverage, low latency and high reliability. The Company continued the building of latency circles with 1ms/10ms/15ms latency for the east-west direction traffic and 1ms/5ms/20ms latency for the south-north direction traffic. The average mutual access latency among hub nodes of “East-to-West Computing Resource Transfer” was reduced by more than 10% year-on-year. The Company steadily pushed forward the building of general computing power capabilities, with the number of cities covered by “One-City-One-Pool” reaching 280 and the number of edge nodes surpassing 1,000. The Company added 1.0 EFLOPS of general computing power throughout the year, bringing the total to 4.1 EFLOPS, representing an increase of 32.3%. The Company’s security capability pools carried out software and hardware decoupling for industry mainstream security products to achieve unified configuration, setting, operation, maintenance and management, as well as flexible output of customised security capabilities, with its business covering more than 200 cities. The Company fully strengthened the digital transformation and construction of its cloud-network. It completed the full launch and application of its proprietary new generation cloud-network operating system that enables SDN-based, scalable and unified control of major networks such as IP, transmission and 5G. The Company also accelerated the application of new technologies, such as AI large models to the cloud-network operating system. The Company released “Qiming”, the first large network model within the information and communications sector, to empower scenes such as emergency scheduling, network optimisation and product delivery. The overall level of automation and intelligence of its cloud-network operation reached L3 while the level of automation and intelligence of some scenes such as 5G Core reached L4, further enhancing its cloud-network operation capabilities.
Anchoring on its vision and mission of building a technology-oriented enterprise, the Company promoted corporate high-quality development driven by sci-tech innovation. Focusing on digital information infrastructure, the Company strengthened breakthroughs in key core technologies. With network as the foundation and cloud as the core, the Company promoted cloud-network integration and grasped the development direction of AI. Centring on four major technical directions of cloud, network, AI and quantum/security, the Company carried out deployment focusing on seven strategic emerging industries including cloud computing and computing power, new generation information and communications, Big Data, AI, security, quantum and digital platform, as well as future industries.

The Company increased the input of “new” elements. Research and development (R&D) expenses (the growth rate of R&D expenses is calculated based on figures of R&D expenses in Chinese Accounting Standards) increased from RMB4.7 billion in 2020 to RMB13.1 billion in 2023, representing an increase of 175.6% for three years. The Company further strengthened the recruitment of high-end sci-tech talents. The aggregate number of leading sci-tech talents reached 138 in 2023, representing an increase of 392.9% for three years. The Company further intensified its efforts in the transformation of its workforce. The number of R&D personnel reached approximately 33,000, representing an increase of 174.5% for three years, with its proportion increasing to 11.8% from 4.2% in 2020. The Company led the “new” digital information infrastructure. Focusing on key areas such as cloud, network, AI, security and quantum, the Company strove to build a digital base with independent control of key core technologies and accelerated the construction of digital information infrastructure with cloud-network integration as the core feature through the integration of various elements. The Company created “new” digital tools to empower the digital, intelligent and green corporation transformation. Driven by data and through AI empowerment, the Company continuously elevated the digital level of R&D, cloud-network operation as well as marketing services, to vigorously promote the upgrade of corporate services as well as costs reduction and efficiency enhancement.
In line with the global trends of green and low-carbon transformation, the Company proactively implemented the green development principles. Focusing on the national “dual carbon” goals, the Company promoted corporate low-carbon operation and empowered the green development of the whole society. The Company deepened efforts to achieve breakthroughs in key green and low-carbon technologies as well as the conversion of achievements. The Company has developed a series of proprietary green and low-carbon products such as e Secure Energy, e Energy Saving, e Extreme Cooling and 5G Integrated Smart Power Supply Cabinet. The Company established and optimised a green and low-carbon standard system, participated in setting nearly 30 national, industry and enterprise standards in total in areas of dual carbon, and established a green and zero-carbon innovative experimental base in Qinghai. The Company continued to accelerate the green upgrade of cloud-network and created efficient, intelligent, green and low-carbon networks with end-to-end dynamic adjustability as well as automated energy-saving. Through co-building and co-sharing, as well as various energy saving measures, the Company reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 13 million tons, while greenhouse gas emissions per unit of total volume of telecommunications services decreased by 19.6% year-on-year. The Company also supported the society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 million tons. By continued optimisation of energy consumption structure, the consumption volume of green electricity with “integration of trading of permit and electricity” throughout the year exceeded 1.1 billion kWh, representing an increase of nearly 3 times year-on-year. The Company intensified the recycling of resources and optimised the building of green packaging and waste disposal systems. The Company enhanced the green elements in digital products and launched a series of green and low-carbon products and solutions. The Company rolled out green products such as Green Cloud Drive, Green Cloud Computer and Zero-carbon Datacentres. The Company also developed green and environmental protection solutions such as the management platform of energy consumption and carbon emissions, the monitoring and management system of air/water pollution source and the biodiversity monitoring platform. The number of project signings exceeded 3,000, serving customers from industries such as government, industrial manufacturing and construction. This empowered application fields such as ecological protection, pollution prevention and control, energy conservation and carbon reduction, supporting the green and low-carbon transformation of thousands of industries.

The Company successfully completed communications assurance tasks for key events. It utilised satellite communications, drones and other technologies to effectively assist flood fighting and disaster relief efforts during times of natural disasters such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei flood and Jishishan earthquake. The Company effectively supported rural revitalisation, popularised digital services and narrowed the digital divide between urban and rural areas. The Company promoted the building of digital villages, with the penetration rate of administrative villages exceeding 60%. The Company has achieved the highest rating for the review and assessment of targeted support carried out by central units for 5 consecutive years. The Company has been committed to social welfare and proactively helped the disabled and underprivileged. The Company initiated the launch of “Public Welfare Union of Caring Stations”, and 96 of its “Caring Stations” have been awarded the title of “Most Beautiful Trade Union Outdoor Worker Service Station” by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. The Company protected the rights and interests of its employees in accordance with the law, and created a comprehensive system for employee care, while continuing to enhance its institutional safeguards. The Company created career development paths for employees and strove to achieve the mutual growth of employees and the Company.

Insisting on high-standard corporate governance while adhering to excellent, prudent and effective corporate governance principles, the Company maintained compliance and efficient operation of its Shareholders Meeting, Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee, and continued to optimise its corporate governance system, while cultivating and further reinforcing the culture of compliance. The Company also further enhanced its risk prevention level with more stable corporate operation. The Company attaches great importance to the management of market capitalisation and held roadshows and reverse roadshows activities for domestic and overseas investors and equity analysts. The Company continued to increase the frequency of communications between the Company and investors, while also enriched the forms of communications, creating multi-dimensional and matrix investor communications channels. The Company actively listened to the voice of investors, proactively fulfilled various commitments made to the capital market and effectively safeguarded the best and long-term interests of its shareholders.
Facing the future, the Company will proactively seize the development trends of the new round of sci-tech revolution and industrial transformation and firmly seize opportunities arising from the development of industries in the process of supporting the advancement of Chinese modernisation. The Company will continue to deeply implement its Cloudification and Digital Transformation strategy, anchoring its mission and vision of building a service-oriented, technology-oriented, and secured enterprise. With network as the foundation and cloud as the core, the Company will grasp the direction of AI development and innovate the supply of products and services. The Company will satisfy the demands for digitalisation from thousands of families and thousands of industries leveraging “network + cloud + AI + applications”. The Company will put sci-tech innovation at a more prominent position and further open up the big cycle of technology, product and industry. The Company will accelerate the fostering and development of new quality productive forces according to its own conditions, speed up the scale expansion of strategic emerging businesses and further create new momentum and edges for development. The Company will deepen the transformation and upgrades of its digital information infrastructure, enhance the green and low carbon capabilities of its cloud-network, and build the key foundation for Digital China. The Company will deepen reforms and opening up on all fronts, comprehensively push forward high-quality development, and further enhance its core functions and core competitiveness. The Company will accelerate the building of a world-class enterprise, further enhance corporate value and proactively bring returns to shareholders.

Last updated on 2 May 2024