China Mobile Touts 409M 4G Subs

SHANGHAI -- Mobile World Congress Shanghai -- Following an intense few years of LTE infrastructure investment, China Mobile CEO, Li Yue, listed his company's 4G accomplishments here in Shanghai Wednesday.

These include:

  • 1.3 million 4G basestations deployed today with another 100,000 to be added this year.

  • 409 million subscribers using 4G today -- this equates to 50% penetration of the Chinese market, and Yue anticipates that by the end of 2016 this will rise to 60%.

  • Supporting 2,000 different device models for 4G services

  • A "high" percentage of its subscribers use smartphones that cost more than 1,000 Yuan Renminbi (US$150)

    He also pointed out that while data traffic on China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL)'s network had gone up 131% since 2011, the per unit data tariff was down by 43% over the same period. He anticipates that data rates will continue to rise to 10 Gbit/s by 2020. He expects to launch 5G services in 2020, and once it gets widely rolled out, offer speeds up to 20 Gbit/s.

    Yue also stressed that the overall number of mobile connections was growing dramatically, from 1 billion connections in China today to a projected 10 billion in 2020. This tenfold increase would also occur worldwide, with global mobile connections growing from 5 billion today to 50 billion in 2020.

    Yue focused his presentation on his company's 4G successes rather than offer up a big vision for the future. But he did mention cloud computing, big data and open source as key technologies that would drive future growth. He also emphasized customer-centricity, stating that only easily accessible, customer-centric organizations that offer excellent customer experiences and respond rapidly to customer issues would be successful in the long term.

    — Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation

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