China Mobile profit down on tougher competition

BEIJING (AP) — China Mobile Ltd., the world's biggest phone carrier by subscribers, says its latest quarterly profit tumbled 8.7 percent due to tougher competition.

China Mobile said profit in the three months ended Sept. 30 was 28.4 billion yuan ($4.5 billion), down from 31.1 billion yuan a year earlier.

The company says in a statement that it "experienced severe difficulties and challenges arising from increasingly complex competition."

Beijing restructured China's phone industry in 2008, creating three carriers each with a mix of mobile and fixed-line assets, to spur competition and innovation.

Since then, China Mobile and rivals China Telecom Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd. have suffered reduced profit margins despite rapid growth in new customers, especially for third-generation service.

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