Telecom Lead Asia: China Mobile’s 4G subscribers is likely to touch 228.8 million in 2017.
China Mobile’s 4G (using TD-LTE technology) user base represents 52 percent of China’s 439.9 million total 4G users.
China Unicom will have 114.4 million 4G users during the period.
China Telecom’s 4G / LTE users will grow to 96.8 million.
By 2017, a total of 600,000 TD-LTE base stations will be deployed by China Mobile, compared to 400,000 for China Telecom and 300,000 for China Unicom, IHS predicts.
Recently, Ericsson in its latest mobility report said that mobile data traffic doubled between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012. Mobile data traffic grew 28 percent between Q3 and Q4 2012.
Hailin Zhao, analyst for China research at IHS, says that 4G technology will make its first widespread deployment this year, with a total of 1.0 million subscribers—all claimed by China Mobile.
Meanwhile, India has a different 4G story to share. Regulatory issues and lack of investments affected 4G take off in India. This week, the Department of Telecom (DoT) said TD-LTE service providers such as Reliance Industries and Bharti Airtel can offer voice by paying extra spectrum fee.
Also, Nokia Siemens Networks India CEO says 2013 will be the year of 3G in India and 4G investments will take more time.
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China Mobile will have 14 million 4G subscribers next year, compared to 4.3 million for China Unicom and 3.2 million for China Telecom.
By 2015, China Mobile will have 55.1 million 4G subscribers — 34.2 million more than China Unicom.
In phase one of trial networks, China Mobile is deploying 1,210 base stations — provided by 11 mobile equipment vendors.
In the second phase of trials, the mobile giant will deploy 10,000 base stations and upgrade from older 3G TD-SCDMA to 4G TD-LTE.
China Mobile installed another 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 2012. By the end of this year, the operator will have deployed a total of TD-LTE 200,000 base stations.
China Mobile started deploying 4G after it found that China Telecom’s data traffic per handset user reached an average of 285 megabytes against China Mobile’s 31 megabytes.
IHS says China Mobile is estimated to have spent $1.5 billion to build its two trial networks and deploy all those base stations.