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China's Telcos Announce January 2014 Subscriber Totals

Marbridge Consulting, 2/20/14

China's three main telecom operators have announced their subscriber totals for January 2014. China Telecom's (NYSE: CHA; 0728.HK) mobile subscriber total decreased for the first time since December 2008, owing to the impact of subscribers gravitating towards China Mobile's (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) newly launched 4G service.

January saw the net addition of 6.98 mln new mobile subscribers. China Mobile recorded a net addition of 4.66 mln new mobile subscribers, pushing the operator's total mobile user base to 771.87 mln, of which a total of 205.87 mln subscribers used China Mobile's TD-SCDMA network during the month. China Mobile added 14.24 mln new TD-SCDMA subscribers in January, but lost 9.58 mln GSM subscribers.

China Unicom (NYSE: CHU; 0762.HK; 600050.SH) saw a net addition of 3.12 mln new mobile subscribers during the month, bringing its total to 284.11 mln, of which 157.64 mln were GSM subscribers, and 126.47 mln were WCDMA subscribers. China Unicom lost 746,000 GSM subscribers and added 3.87 mln new WCDMA subscribers in January.

China Telecom saw a net loss of 800,000 mobile subscribers, reducing its total to 184.78 mln, of which 103.14 mln were CDMA2000 EV-DO subscribers and 81.64 mln were CDMA subscribers. China Telecom added 30,000 new CDMA2000 EV-DO subscribers, but lost 830,000 CDMA subscribers in January.

Of the combined total of 435.48 mln 3G subscribers, China Mobile holds 47.27%, China Unicom 29.04%, and China Telecom 23.68%. Of total new mobile subscribers added in January, China Mobile took 66.73%, increasing its share of China's total mobile user base to 62.21%. China Unicom's share of the total mobile user base increased for the 36th straight month, rising from 22.77% at the end of December 2013 to 22.90% at the end of January 2014, while China Telecom's share declined from 15.04% at the end of December 2013 to 14.89% at the end of January 2014.

China Telecom lost 880,000 fixed-line subs, reducing its total to 154.92 mln, while China Unicom added 380,000 fixed-line subs, increasing its total to 88.02 mln.

China Telecom gained 750,000 new broadband subscribers to reach 100.85 mln, and China Unicom added 661,000 new broadband subs to reach 65.31 mln total broadband subscribers.

Editor's Note: According to China Telecom, the decrease in mobile subscribers in January 2014 was mainly due to increased market competition driven by the launch of 4G LTE services and strengthened marketing promotion by China Mobile. China Telecom launched its LTE services in mid Feb 2014.

Keywords: national statistics China Telecom China Mobile China Unicom 4G mobile subscribers 3G broadband subscribers GSM CHL TD-SCDMA WCDMA 0728.HK 0762.HK 0941.HK 600050.SH CHA CHU CDMA2000 EV-DO market share fixed-line subscribers


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