China Mobile saw wireless data traffic become its largest revenue source for the first time in 2016, outstripping the combined inflows from voice, text messages and multimedia messages.

Operating revenue for the state-owned telecoms operator rose 6 per cent year on year to Rmb708.4bn ($102.8bn), with revenue from telecommunications services up 6.7 per cent and accounting for Rmb623.4bn. Wireless data traffic revenue grew by 43.5 per cent year on year to account for 46.2 per cent of annual revenue from telecommunications services.

Net profit rose 0.2 per cent to Rmb108.7bn ($15bn), coming in a median estimate from analysts of Rmb108.3bn compiled by Bloomberg.

China Mobile raised its final dividend to HK$1.243 per share ($0.16), bringing the total dividend for the full year to HK$2.2732 per share, a payout ratio of 46 per cent.

The company, which has 71 per cent of China’s 4G subscribers, added 223m 4G customers in the twelve months to December, bringing its subscriber base for these services to 535m.

China Mobile said it expects government policies – such as the need to upgrade bandwidth as part of Premier Li Keqiang’s “internet plus” strategy and the scrapping of domestic long-distance and roaming charges starting from October – to negatively impact its 2017 results.

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