In the first three quarters of 2020, facing challenges such as market saturation, keen market competition and the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Company proactively responded to the challenges and took precise measures to prevent and control the pandemic. Through pushing forward the comprehensive digital transformation and innovating communications service offerings, the Company turned adversity into opportunities. Meanwhile, the Company continued to deepen the execution of the strategy of focus, innovation and cooperation, building on China Unicom’s “Five New” establishment to advance the depth of mixed-ownership reform, consistently improving business development. In the first three quarters of 2020, the Company’s total service revenue amounted to RMB 207,349 million, up by 4.4% year-on-year. The Company’s EBITDA amounted to RMB 73,700 million, up by 0.8% year-on-year. EBITDA as a percentage of service revenue was 35.5%. The profit attributable to the equity shareholders of the Company amounted to RMB 10,824 million, up by 10.2% year-on-year.
Led by value-oriented operation, the Company had proactively adjusted the development priority of mobile business since the second half of 2019. Adhered to self-discipline on rational and orderly competition, customer acquisition cost was rigorously controlled, while the subscriber quality was improved. Leveraging the centralised IT system of the entire network, the Company promoted the synergetic operation of online-offline omni-channels to improve marketing efficiency. It effectively achieved 5G network “co-build co-share” and stepped up 5G customer acquisition in a paced and targeted manner, introducing consumption upgrade through 5G innovative applications. In the first three quarters of 2020, mobile billing subscribers registered a net loss of 9.29 million, reaching a total of 309 million. Mobile billing subscriber ARPU increased by 2.6% year-on-year to RMB 41.6. Mobile service revenue amounted to RMB 116,539 million, down by 1.0% year-on-year. The rate of decline substantially narrowed as compared to the full year of 2019. Benefiting from the active and effective adjustment of the mobile business priority, the Company’s mobile business development quality gradually improved. In the single third quarter of 2020, mobile service revenue further improved with an increase of 2.5% year-on-year.
In the first three quarters of 2020, the Company orderly promoted 5G business development. Facing the consumer market, the Company was committed to user experience and value enhancement. It promoted 5G package services in a paced and targeted manner to align with the progress of 5G network construction and handset supply. The Company built open platforms for 5G capability integration and introduced featured services such as HD/4K/8K video, AR/VR and cloud games. The Company deeply pushed forward industry cooperation and created a 5G pan-smart terminal ecosystem integrating “terminal + content + application”, empowering the consumer Internet market development. Focusing on 5G touchpoints on channels, the Company implemented the O2O integration and performed multi-dimensional, scenario-based precise marketing. The Company’s 5G subscribers are growing steadily as planned. Looking forward, the Company’s 5G subscriber growth is set to accelerate as 5G network, terminals and applications gain maturity.

Facing the government and enterprise market, the Company focused on areas such as industrial Internet, smart city, healthcare and others, establishing a number of 5G lighthouse projects and successfully commercialising 5G applications. The Company accelerated the incubation of industry products and drove the solid development of “China Unicom 5G Application Innovation Alliance”, actively promoting the construction of the eco-system and the prosperity of the industry to foster the innovative growth in the future.
The pandemic prompted a rising demand of broadband network deployment and speed upgrade. The Company adhered to rational and disciplined competition. It actively leveraged the comprehensive advantages of high speed, rich content and top-notch service, and advanced the promotion of smart home products to drive the growth in broadband access and other related businesses. In the first three quarters of 2020, fixed-line broadband subscribers registered a net addition of 3.08 million, reaching a total of 86.56 million. Fixed-line broadband access revenue amounted to RMB 32,096 million, up by 3.7% year-on-year.
The “New Infrastructure” policy and the pandemic further boosted demand for digitisation, cyberisation and intelligent transformation of the economy and society. The Company seized the opportunity, especially by focusing on key areas such as smart city, digital government, smart healthcare and industrial Internet, to proactively leverage its resource advantages and deepen the promotion of industry cooperation, accelerating the cultivation of 5G+ vertical industry applications and the integrated innovative development. It deepened business cooperation with strategic investors and industry leaders, with a number of JVs established, creating powerful alliance and synergising edges. By strengthening the proprietary capabilities and focusing on platform-based capabilities, product standardisation, research and development centralisation, and proprietary delivery capabilities, the Company accelerated the development of proprietary capabilities and promotion of proprietary products, enabling the digital transformation of government and enterprise customers. In the first three quarters of 2020, revenue from industry Internet business amounted to RMB 32,656 million, up by 34.4% year-on-year.
The Company maintained focused deployment while closely collaborating with China Telecom to advance “co-build co-share” of 5G network. It successfully doubled the 5G network deployment pace and capability, achieving 5G network scale, coverage, and quality as comparable with the leading operator. In the first three quarters of 2020, China Unicom and China Telecom together added approximately 250,000 5G base stations. By the end of September 2020, the Company has deployed over 300,000 5G base stations in service, of which China Unicom built approximately 150,000 base stations, providing city coverage nationwide. It successfully upgraded 4G base stations to 5G base stations at 2.1GHz frequency band by software in certain provinces. Meanwhile, the Company has expanded the “co-build co-share” with China Telecom in 4G and other areas, in order to further improve resource utilisation efficiency.
The Company will leverage its various 5G unique edges to drive revenue growth and value enhancement in future, including:
  • 5G network “co-build co-share”, which can efficiently enhance our edges and return
  • Centralised IT system, which can support open cooperation
  • Potential collaboration with 14 strategic investors and benefits from market-oriented system and mechanism reform, leveraging mixed-ownership reform
  • Well-established Internet-oriented operation experience; and
  • Established long-term relationship with government and enterprise customers as well as innovative business capabilities
In the first three quarters of 2020, the Company consolidated the edges of its strategic partners and continued to carry out in-depth cooperation in key areas such as 5G, cloud computing, Big Data, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and network security, which continuously enhanced the momentum of innovative development. Yunjing Culture and Tourism Technology Co., Ltd, a joint venture with Tencent, focusing on technology, culture and tourism, established product portfolio with various customised industry products/modules and won projects in a number of provinces nationwide. Smart Steps, integrating JD’s capability and resources, focused on “population+” and connection of “people-things-enterprises”, which has become the nation’s No. 1 service provider in demographic Big Data in planning and statistics. Yunlizhihui, a joint venture with Alibaba, focused on the Internet market of industries such as governmental affairs, ecological and environmental protection, while constantly upgrading various smart products such as Smart Rivers and Lakes, Urban Brain, etc. The Company established a 5G joint laboratory with Baidu, focusing on 5G, IoV, and AI, and explored the commercialisation of 5G edge computing in specific scenarios. The Company also established a digital insurance joint laboratory with China Life to cooperate and explore new opportunities in digital insurance.
The Company persisted in open cooperation and remained focused, successfully achieving the “co-build and co-share” of 5G network to achieve resources savings and win-win cooperation. In the first half of 2020, with effective control, the capital expenditure amounted to RMB25.8 billion, of which 5G CAPEX was about RMB12.6 billion. The Company saw a continuous improvement in the network quality and customer perception in the focused regions. The real-time satisfaction rate for mobile network and fixed-line broadband continued to increase and the Company continued to achieve industry-best network latency performance.

Full-year CAPEX for 2020 is expected to be approximately RMB70.0 billion, of which 5G CAPEX is about RMB35.0 billion.
The objective of the dividend policy of the Company is to achieve a long-term, sustainable and steadily increasing dividend, with a view to maximising the shareholders’ value. The declaration and payment of future dividends will depend upon, among other things, financial condition, business prospects, future earnings, cash flow, liquidity level and cost of capital. The Company believes such policy will provide the shareholders with a stable return in the long term along with the growth of the Company. Pursuant to the Companies Ordinance (Chapter 622 of the Laws of Hong Kong) and the Company’s articles of association, the Company may only pay dividends out of profits available for distribution.

Taking into consideration the Company’s profitability, debt and cash flow level, capital requirements for its future development etc., the Board recommended the payment of a final dividend of RMB0.148 per share for the year ended 31 December 2019. Going forward, the Company will continue to strive for enhancing its profitability and shareholders’ return.
Focusing on the comprehensive digital transformation, the Company promoted operational reform expansion and quality enhancement. It carried out reform in the areas of marketing, network, government and enterprise service by re-engineering a new and customer-oriented operating structure and process system. The Company strengthened the introduction of high-end talents and promoted the transformation of talent structure towards IT (Information Technology)/DT (Data Technology). The Company continued to deepen the reform of sub-division of performing units, optimised and reconstructed the production end units to stimulate the vitality of micro entities comprehensively. As the mixed-ownership reform in subordinate companies was smoothly pushed forward, the Company’s Yunnan branch, which implemented the socialised cooperative operation reform, saw significant enhancement in business development and efficiency, as well as expansion in network coverage. New steps were taken in the socialised cooperative operation reform of seven city branches in Guangxi Province.
Last updated: 30 October 2020