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China Mobile first half profit falls 8.5 percent amid heavy spending to roll out 4G service

China Mobile Ltd., the world's biggest phone carrier by number of subscribers, says its first-half profit fell 8.5 percent as the company spent heavily to roll out fourth-generation service.

China Mobile, one of China's three major state-owned phone carriers, said Thursday it earned 57.7 billion yuan ($9.4 billion) in the six months ending June 30. Operating revenue rose 7.1 percent to 324.7 billion yuan ($54.1 billion).

The company has invested heavily to build what it says is the world's biggest 4G network, with 410,000 base stations in 300 cities.

Its total subscribers rose 6.8 percent over a year earlier to 790 million accounts, including 14 million 4G users.