Telecom Lead Asia: China Unicom is expecting to see
a larger revenue contribution from its 3G network than from 2G subscribers for
the first time this year.
China’s second-largest mobile operator China Unicom added
2.92 million 3G subscribers in April 2012 that takes the total number of 3G
subscribers to 51.78 million, according to a statement on the company’s
The carrier adopted a series of measures to win more 3G
customers from market leader China Mobile, including selling cheaper
smartphones and offering lower-cost 3G services.
The telecom operator introduced smartphones from domestic
suppliers including ZTE priced at less than 1,000 yuan ($158). The low-cost
handsets helped Unicom’s subscriber base expand 20 percent from a year earlier
in each of the first four months of 2012.
Sales from users of the company’s 2G network may post a
small drop this year from the 70.6 billion yuan ($11 billion) recorded last
year as more subscribers shift to the high-speed 3G service,” said Lu Yimin,
president of China Unicom.
The 3G unit contributed 32 percent of mobile revenue last
year, with the rest coming from 2G users.
We are not as focused on the number of new users, we
want to make sure we are adding good quality customers. Unicom’s 3G business
will be profitable this year,” Lu said.
The company forecasts that the operator’s 3G subscriber
base will reach 90 million by the end of 2012.
China Unicom posts 3G ARPU of RMB 93.9 against mobile ARPU of
Recently, China Unicom said its ARPU from 3G was RMB 93.9
for the first quarter of 2012. The average data usage per subscriber per month
was 242.8 MB for 3G business. The ARPU for mobile business was RMB 47.7 in Q1
Service revenue from the 3G business reached RMB 12.53
billion for the first quarter of 2012 and as a percentage of service revenue
from the mobile business, there was an increase from 24.4 percent for the first
quarter of 2011 to 42.8 percent for the first quarter of 2012.