China Unicom (CHU) subscriber growth slows, weakest in two years

Includes: CHA, CHL, CHU, CN-OLD
by: Ezra Marbach

China wireless operator, China Unicom (ticker: CHU), announced
its weakest monthly subscriber results in more than
two years. The results were due to a combination of slowing wireless growth, and the new year holiday. Details:

  • Unicom's total subscribers increased 1.2%, or 1.41 million users in February to 114.93 million.
  • Unicom added 1.44 million new subscribers in January - which had been its lowest monthly total in the last two years.
  • Unicom's CDMA subscribers increased 1.76% over January, the slowest rate since its launch three years ago.

More from the company's web site here.

Quick thought: While China Unicom's chief rival, China Mobile (ticker: CHL), also reported weak subscriber growth for February, Unicom's numbers are particularly troubling. Why? Unicom has been steadily losing market share to China Mobile over the last six months, and both carriers are struggling to find new areas for growth. Unicom's decision to limit promotions and focus more on profitability seem to be costing it dearly. And for all of you waiting for a government engineered telecom restructuring, Unicom's results just might expedite that reality.

China Unicom's stock market performance: