Research firm IHS iSuppli predicts that 4G LTE (Long Term
Evolution) will propel the next phase of growth in the Chinese
telecom space on account of which
China Mobile Limited
) will have a significant lead over its rivals based on its early
efforts to deploy TD (Time Division) LTE network in the
The news comes on the back of the country's ambitious goal of
adding 100 million 3G customers in 2013, which depicts the growth
potential of the Chinese telecom market.
The research firm expects 4G customer bases to surge from an
expected 1 million in 2013 to 439.9 million in 2017 with China
Mobile boasting the biggest share of 52%, followed by
) with 26% and
China Telecom Corp.
) with the remaining 22%.
China Mobile's biggest flaw is that it offers 3G mobile
service based on Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple
Access (TD-SCDMA) technology, which is not very well supported by
the handset makers including
China Mobile, which covers more than half of the Chinese
mobile market, has so far been successful in penetrating only 13%
of its huge subscriber base with 3G customers, while China Unicom
and China Telecom have 33% and 44% of 3G customer concentration
In an attempt to tide over this difficult situation, China
Mobile started early to develop its much accepted TD-LTE
technology and has set a target of deploying 200,000 base
stations by 2013. According to IHS, the base station count will
increase to 600,000 by 2017 while China Telecom and China Unicom
lag behind with 400,000 and 300,000 stations respectively.
IHS anticipates 4G growth to pick up pace gradually with the
maximum growth coming in 2016 and 2017 as 3G is expected to be
phased out by then. With more than a billion plus cell phone
users, China Mobile offers a huge smartphone market, which is
still being dominated by Android and iOS.
China Mobile has been in talks with Apple for quite some time
to offer iPhone through its network. Availability of the latest
version of iPhone from its stable is only expected to add to the
company's impressive 4G story. We believe that with a billion
plus population, a steady per capita income and increased choice
of LTE supported devices the expected 4G performance is quite
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