* Profit rises 11.7 percent vs 2015 excluding one-off gain
* Revenue up 6.4 pct to 352.3 bln yuan
* Expects 2017 capex at 89 bln yuan, down 8 pct
* Dividend per share HK$0.105, up from HK$0.095
(Adds details on CAPEX from earnings press conference)
By Sijia Jiang
HONG KONG, March 21 Chinese state-owned
telecommunications network operator China Telecom Corp Ltd
on Tuesday reported net profit that fell 10.2 percent
last year due to a higher base of comparison, and said
subscribers to its 4G mobile network doubled.
Profit fell to 18 billion yuan ($2.61 billion), in line with
the 18.1 billion yuan average of 21 analyst estimates from
Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate. It grew 11.7 percent when
excluding a one-off gain in 2015 from disposing of tower assets.
Operating revenue rose 6.4 percent to 352.3 billion yuan.
China Telecom is among China's state-owned telcos bracing
for revenue pressure after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on
them to "raise speed, drop prices" by evening out local and
long-distance domestic call charges and removing domestic
Jefferies analyst Edison Lee said China Telecom will suffer
more from the reform than bigger rival China Mobile Ltd
due to its narrower net margins. Lee lowered his 2017
earnings-per-share forecast for China Telecom by 16.8 percent as
a result of Li's call.
Chairman and Chief Executive Yang Jie, speaking at an
earnings press conference, said China Telecom had earmarked 89
billion yuan ($12.90 billion) for capital spending this year,
down 8 percent from 2016 which itself was 11.3 percent down on
Spending next year would be "significantly lower," he added.
China Telecom, which derives almost half of its revenue from
its mobile business, said it doubled the number of users of its
fourth-generation (4G) mobile network last year to 122 million,
making up a 16 percent market share.
The telco, China's second-largest by market value, also
declared a dividend of HK$0.105 per share, up from HK$0.095 a
"Year 2017 is a crucial year for the company to implement
the strategy of comprehensive transformation and upgrades as
well as the construction of comprehensive competitive
advantages," Yang said in a statement to the stock exchange.
(Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Christopher Cushing)