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China 3G mobile users reach 102 million

27 октября 2011

Users of speedy third-generation mobile data services in China topped 100 million for the first time at the end of September, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement Wednesday.

The number of 3G mobile phone users in China almost tripled to 102 million at the end of September from 34.99 million a year earlier, underpinned by the popularity of smartphones. Although 3G networks are more costly, they offer faster data speeds than the older 2G networks. There were 93.8 million 3G mobile phone users in China at the end of August, official data showed.

The data from the ministry imply that China Telecom Corp., which has yet to issue subscriber figures for September, had around 28.6 million 3G users at the end of September. Based on a Dow Jones Newswires calculation, China Telecom had 3 million new 3G users last month, the largest number among the three carriers. The company had 25.6 million 3G users at the end of August.

China's other two major mobile telecommunications companies have already announced their end-September 3G user numbers. China Mobile Ltd., the country's largest mobile operator, had 43.2 million 3G users at the end of September, up from 40.32 million at the end of August, while China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. had 30.2 million, up from 27.87 million at the end of August.

Although China Mobile still leads the country's market in 3G subscribers, its use of homegrown technology has put it at a disadvantage by limiting its access to popular 3G smartphones for customers. The company has said for years it is in talks with Apple Inc.(AAPL) to offer the company's popular iPhone handsets, which are currently offered exclusively by China Unicom in mainland China. China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said in May Apple plans to use a fourth-generation mobile technology that is backed by China Mobile, called TD-LTE, on the iPhone.

China's government has given few details on its plans for 4G networks, though it is a clear backer of TD-LTE.

China Mobile had 42.35% of China's 102 million 3G accounts at the end of September, but that is far smaller than its 70% share of China's 822 million 2G accounts.

Analysts say the company has a shot at reversing its lackluster 3G subscriber numbers, largely because the company has worked to build international support for TD-LTE technology.

Источник: Total Telecom

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