China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom increase 3G user base

Telecom Lead Asia: 3G opportunities are growing
rapidly in China thanks to aggressive network expansion by China Mobile, China
Unicom and China Telecom.


China has one the largest mobile subscriber base in the
world and is still growing at a rapid pace. It is expected that mobile phone
accounts in China will go beyond the 1.1 billion mark by the end of the year.


Being a hub of telecom technology both in terms of
gadgets and network equipment along with enormous population, the uptake of
advance technologies has always been on a higher note.


As 4G LTE technology adoption remains in nascent stages,
consumers in the Chinese market have rapidly been adopting 3G technology.
The surge in 3G uptake in China has largely been supported by
the cheap smart devices, mostly of which being manufactured in China.


According to a report from Beijing-based research
company Analysys International, one out of every six Chinese mobile phone users
currently subscribes to 3G network services.


The study also anticipates that the penetration rate
of 3G could be more than 20 percent by the end of the year.


The total mobile phone accounts were 1.062 billion in the
month of July this year, with 184 million 3G users for the same


At present, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile
offer 3G services across the country.


3G growth in the country has also been supported by
various homegrown 3G technologies that are TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and


China Mobile largely supports
TD-SCDMA 3G technology, while China Unicom leverages WCDMA .The
CDMA2000 being used by China Telecom.


In order to augment the 3G penetration,
operators in China has aggressively been rolling-out 3G smart devices
over their respective networks.


With data helps increasing total revenues, Chinese
telecom operators are coming out with innovative bundled data plans with latest


Recently, China
Mobile claimed that 47 3G mobile phones, including 32 smartphones have been
launched since the beginning of the year for TD-SCDMA.


China Mobile said it works with 250 mobile phone manufacturers
to bring new handsets in the market for its customers. China Mobile is the
largest mobile operator in terms of users in the world.


China Unicom increased spending on handsets by 15 percent
to 3.515 billion yuan in the first half of 2012 from a year earlier, while on
the other hand, China Mobile increased spending on handset subsidies by 41
percent to 12 billion yuan.


China Telecom ramped up spending on handsets by 50
percent for the same period.


In addition to handset spending, Chinese telcos seek
consolidation to increase their 3G market share.


Very Recently, China Telecom said that it will
acquire 3G network infrastructure from its parent company, China
Telecommunications for $13.3bn.


Till July this year, China Mobile had 68.98 million 3G users,
whereas China Unicom and China Telecom had 60.62 million and 53.81
million 3G subscribers respectively.


In the six months ended June 30, China Telecom outmatched
China Unicom and China Mobile in the growth of users of third-generation mobile



China Telecom’s 3G users grew 40 percent from
the end of 2011, while China Mobile reported growth of 31 percent and China
Unicom 34 percent.


However, during the last quarter, the pace
of 3G net addition among all three operators plunged in comparison to
earlier quarters.


In coming quarter, it would be interesting to see how
these operators will bring out innovative offerings to compete with each other
in this constant 3G race.


Danish Khan
[email protected]