China - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 17 Feb 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 53

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Synopsis

China’s mobile market is moving into a new stage characterised by low subscriber and profit growth. This is reflected in the slower growth in China’s overall subscriber base and falling margins as China’s three big operators resort to price competition to grow the number of subscribers or to respond to competitive threats.

By early 2020 the number of mobile subscribers had broached 1.58 billion. Growth in the number of subscribers is expected to be relatively slower in coming years due to a saturated and mature market. Market penetration is predicted to reach 134% by 2024.

The MIIT has awarded commercial 5G licences to the country’s three mobile network operators (MNOs) China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, which all launched commercial services in November 2019.

Mobile broadband has seen very strong growth in China over the past five years. Proliferation of LTE and improving affordability of smartphones is driving growth both in mobile broadband subscribers as well as the amount of traffic used per subscriber. The mobile broadband market will be driven by increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they roll out their 4G and 5G networks and improving tariffs due to strong competition.

China has emerged as one of the most aggressive countries promoting 5G and is predicted to be one of the top four of markets that will drive the growth of 5G in Asia, and is projected to become the world’s largest 5G market by 2025.

The major Chinese internet companies will lead the way introducing advanced consumer services based on 4K and 8K videos, as well as augmented and virtual reality technologies, on the new 5G networks. Other drivers for 5G in China include smart city initiatives that make use of artificial intelligence for public safety, traffic management and disaster management.

Key Developments:

  • China is projected to become the world's largest 5G market by 2025.
  • The regulator in February 2020 issued three new licences to encourage sharing spectrum for 5G indoor coverage.
  • China is predicted to account for more than two-thirds of all 5G connections by 2025.
  • China possesses the largest M2M market in the world.

Companies covered in this report include:

China Mobile; China Telecom; China Unicom

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