Tencent Tech, 2/19/14
According to Wen Ku, head of the Department of Communications Development at China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), commercial 4G services will reach more than 300 cities in China in 2014, with the country's 4G user base reaching from 30 mln to over 50 mln by the end of the year. In response to recent consumer criticism that 4G mobile service fees are too high, Wen Ku emphasized that the MIIT will employ market-centric methods to help push 4G service rates down.
Many of China's internet users, including Li Guoqing, CEO of Chinese B2C e-commerce site Dangdang (NYSE: DANG), have criticized China Mobile's (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) 4G tariffs, prompting promises from China Mobile that the company will prevent users from seeing exorbitant charges on their mobile bills.
China Mobile's 4G network construction will take place over two phases in 2014, with 280,000 base stations to be built during the first phase of construction, and a cumulative total of 500,000 base stations to be reached through second phase construction by the end of the year. China Mobile's previous goal of achieving 4G coverage in 100 cities by mid-year will be realized 3 months ahead of time, with the mobile operator now estimating that 100 cities will have commercial 4G capability by the end of March, more than 250 cities by mid-year, and more than 344 cities by the end of the year.
With regard to mobile terminals, China Mobile anticipates that more than 27 4G-capable smartphone models from more than 10 manufacturers will be commercially available by the end of Q1 2014, including handsets from Samsung, HTC, Huawei, ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ), Coolpad (2369.HK), and others.
Editor's Note: For more background on this topic, please see "China's 4G Users to Exceed 30 Mln in 2014" MD 12/27/13 issue.