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First annual profit drop in 14 years spurs China Mobile spending on 4G


By Paul Carsten and Yimou Lee BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China Mobile Ltd, the worlds largest mobile carrier by subscribers, will spend more this year to bolster its 4G mobile network to counter its first annual profit drop in 14 years. The company blamed pressure from messaging services like the WeChat mobile app from Tencent Holdings Ltd and said on Thursday it will increase capital spending by 22 percent to 225.2 billion yuan ($36.34 billion). China Mobile also said it plans to sell 100 million 4G devices and have 50 million 4G users by the end of the year, following the January launch of Apple Incs iPhone on its network. Costly subsidies, particularly for the iPhone, and the plan to raise capital spending, combined with a proposed value-added tax for Chinas carriers [ID:nL3N0M222K], could all weigh heavily on China Mobiles future profits as it tries to reinvent itself in the mobile Internet era.

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