China Mobile Communications Corp reported a 3.5 percent rise in first-half net profit after adding new subscribers.
The country's top telecom operator plans to start 5G field tests later this year.
But together with China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd, China Mobile continues to benefit from customers upgrading to 4G and from mobile data demand.
In March, the company warned that a government call for telecom operators to lower prices was likely to reduce its operating profits and revenues by around 7 billion yuan ($1.05 billion) this year.
Net profit for the six months to June reached 62.7 billion yuan, up from 60.6 billion yuan for the same period in 2016.
Operating revenue jumped 5 percent to 388.9 billion yuan, up from 370.4 billion yuan a year earlier.
"This year, we will commence field tests for 5G and steadily drive the business forward," the company reported on Thursday in a statement. "This takes into account the maturity of the 5G standard and the related business model."
China Mobile announced that subscribers of its 4G mobile network－the world's largest－rose to 594 million after the addition of 58.62 million customers.
It said it was on track to achieve its target of a net increase of 100 million 4G users this year.
The company announced an interim dividend of HK$1.623 (23 US cents) per share and special dividend of HK$3.20 per share to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Hong Kong listing.
China Mobile is also making big investments into the so-called internet of things initiative, as the government pushes for the strategy.
Shares of China Mobile, which listed in Hong Kong two decades ago, were down 0.5 percent ahead of the announcement. The stock has edged up around 2 percent so far this year, lagging a more than 20 percent gain for the benchmark Hang Seng Index.