China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator by users, recorded a 23.3% increase in net profit for 2006, to 66 billion yuan (US$8.462 billion), The Standard reported.

Revenues jumped 21.5% to 295.4 billion yuan (US$37.87 billion), the company reported Wednesday.

The report said China Mobile's average revenue per user, an industry measure of pricing power, remained static year on year at 90 yuan. Total subscribers grew 22.1% in 2006 to 300 million, an average net addition of 4.43 million users per month. The growth trend continued in the first two months of this year, as 4.86 million subscribers were added in January, followed by another 4.91 million in February, bringing the total customer base to 311 million - exceeding the entire population of the United States.

"The pace of subscriber growth in the first two months of this year was higher than we expected," chairman and chief executive officer Wang Jianzhou was quoted as saying. "That's why we have to increase our capital expenditure this year to cater to market demand."

The company will increase capital expenditures 15% to 99.8 billion yuan (US$12.475 billion) in 2007 and will shell out a total of 194 billion yuan (US$24.872 billion) in 2008 and 2009.

China Mobile will further expand its promotional plans offering free incoming calls - also known as de-facto one-way billing - this year. "The central government has been encouraging operators to offer one-way billing, but it never requested us to fully implement and launch it nationwide," The Standard quoted Wang. "We are gradually moving to caller-pay billing, but we have no schedule of when it will be launched nationwide."

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