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 2019, the number of mobile subscribers had reached over 1.5 billion However, growth is expected to be relatively slower due to a saturated and mature market over the next five years to 2024. 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. China Mobile brought forward plans to launch 5G services commercially, announcing that the service will go live in 50 cities by the end of 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 in 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.
China Mobile; China Telecom; China Unicom
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Number of pages 59
Last updated 23 Aug 2019
Analyst: Phil Harpur
Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.
Dominic Schipano, CITT
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