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China Mobile revenue, profits up on continuing subscriber growth

The company's profit increased by 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter

China Mobile's fourth quarter net profit grew year-over-year by 4.8 percent as the country's largest mobile operator continues to add more customers.

During the quarter, China Mobile added 65.5 million news users, taking the total at the end of 2011 to nearly 650 million. This represents about double the users that rivals China Unicom and China Telecom together have.

China Mobile's net profit reached 33.9 billion yuan (US$5.35 billion) in the quarter, the company said Thursday. This was up from 32.3 billion yuan in the same period in 2010.

The company's revenue was 144.2 billion yuan at the end of the quarter, an increase of 8.7 percent from the 132.5 billion during the same period in 2010.

China Mobile is the only mobile carrier of the three that does not offer Apple's iPhone as part of its official smartphone offerings. Analysts have said this has been a stumbling block for the company, and largely the outcome of it trying to attract more users to its 3G TD-SCDMA network (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), a homegrown technology standard only used in China and not yet supported by the iPhone.

China Mobile, however, is pushing for the development of China's 4G networks, which will use LTE TDD (Long-Term Evolution Time-Division Duplex) technology. In a Thursday statement, the company said it had completed the first phase of large scale testing of the networks in six Chinese cities. It will begin the second phase of trials in nine cities this year.

Earlier this month, a top Chinese official said the country will probably need to wait another two to three years before the government grants 4G licenses for LTE TDD networks.

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