& cplSiteName &

Year of the Horse: Can China Telecoms Break Into a Gallop?

Robert Clark
News Analysis
Robert Clark
3/10/2014
50%
50%

China's Lunar New Year, a traditional festival marked by feasting and fireworks, has now become an annual telecom benchmark.

As the Year of the Horse dawned last month, operators and analysts once again scrutinized the volume of New Year messages exchanged over the period. The total sent over this year's holiday period year fell 40% to 18.2 billion.

A survey by research firm iiMedia concluded that just 57% of China's 1.23 billion mobile subscribers used operator SMS over the period, down from 68% last year, while 19% used the local messaging platform WeChat, up from 11%.

The figures underline the rapid rise of WeChat, which has signed up more than 270 million users worldwide since launch three years ago, mostly in China, with assists from high telco charges and the government crackdown on microblogs.

The three operators have made half-hearted responses, partnering with WeChat (in the case of China Unicom), Netease (China Telecom), or coming up with their own (China Mobile), but none of these has gained traction.

Yet even as operators grapple with OTT, the China market faces more change than it has seen in years.

For one, 4G has arrived and this almost certainly means the return of China Mobile as the alpha-operator.

In the last five years China Mobile's tepid 3G offering, based on TD-SCDMA, has meant it has been losing market share. Today has 63% of the total customer base, but just 47% of the 3G customers.

So it has seized on the arrival of LTE TDD to embark on one of the largest and fastest rollouts ever. The network is already commercially available in 16 cities and by year-end the operator expects to have half a million basestations deployed in 340 cities.

Its two rivals were openly dismissive of TDD a year ago, but have climbed aboard now that the MIIT has made it clear it's the only game in town. The ministry handed out LTE TDD licenses to all three operators in December. It's an industry guessing game as to when it will distribute FDD licenses, but no-one believes it will be before the second half of this year.

Both China Telecom, which started selling 4G last month, and China Unicom, which is set to launch on March 18, are building hybrid networks, with TDD primarily deployed for capacity in urban areas.

The other TDD pay-off for China Mobile is it has finally been able to strike a deal with Apple. (See China Mobile Gets the iPhone.)

Although 40% of Chinese mobile users already have a smartphone, Apple still appears to have plenty of upside. It improved its market share by a point to 7% in Q4, ranking just behind Samsung, and according to one survey is the most desired smartphone brand.

But this is also the year in which the first MVNOs are expected to hang out their shingle. They are unlikely to win significant market share in 2014, or ever, but the specter of these new competitors will likely force the MNOs to cut prices.

Each operator is required to partner with at least two MVNO players, and the first trials will start in the second quarter.

While the market rules are still vague, and the wholesale price appears to be absurdly high, many of the incoming MVNO players have strengths of their own. Some are online retailers with millions of registered customers, and others are well-supported Internet companies such as Alibaba-owned HiShare.

This mild liberalization, open to Chinese companies only, comes at a time when the government is promising to curb the role of the state in the economy. If true, the arrival of the virtual operators may foreshadow wider participation in of the sector by private players.

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
penoy2014
50%
50%
penoy2014,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/13/2014 | 4:30:07 AM
jaw crusher
Jaw crusher is firstly researched and developed in 1858. Due to its simple structure, stable and reliable work and convenient operation and maintenance, it had been widely applied in mining, quarrying, stone crushing and road and bridge construction since then. Jaw crusher machine is mainly used for primarily crushing the raw materials, so that is also called primary jaw crusher or primary crushers. Jaw crusher is one of the most important crushing machines in the stone crushing production line. It can be not only used for crushing stone materials, pebble and coal and be called stone jaw crusher, but used for manufacturing cement aggregate.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit 101
Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Comcast Will Go Wireless in 2017
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/20/2016
Sprint CEO: We'll Lease Spectrum as Soon as Possible
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
You Thought Your Customer Service Was Unreliable... Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.