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MIIT: China's Mobile Subscriber Base Drops by 1 Mln in February 2015

MIIT, 3/17/15

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has released its January to February 2015 telecom industry statistics. Figures for the first two months of the year were as follows:

Telecom operating revenues for Jan-Feb 2015 were RMB 212.99 bln (USD 34.04 bln), down 2 % YoY, of which core services revenue was RMB 175.07 bln (USD 27.97 bln), up 2% YoY. Jan-Feb 2015 capital expenditure was RMB 22.19 bln (USD 3.54 bln), down 1.9% YoY.

Total telephone subscribers dropped 2.22 mln in February to 1.536 bln. In February, the number of mobile subscribers decreased by 1.02 mln to 1.289 bln, while fixed-line subscribers decreased by 1.2 mln to 246.94 mln. Among the mobile subscribers, 3G subscribers saw an increase of 0.46 mln in February, increasing the total 3G user base to 485.51 mln, and 4G subscribers increased by 20.18 mln to reach a total 4G user base of 138.05 mln.

A total of 123.27 bln SMS messages were sent in Jan-Feb, a 2.61% decrease YoY.

In terms of internet access, China's number of broadband registered accounts increased by 0.45 mln in February, raising the total to 202.52 mln, of which 8M+ registered broadband accounts rose to 89.92 mln, accounting for 44.4% of all registered broadband accounts, while 20M+ registered broadband accounts accounted for 12.7% of all registered broadband accounts. FTTH subscribers grew by 2.82 mln to 74.82 mln. IPTV subscribers increased by 0.92 mln in February, bringing the total IPTV user base to 35.62 mln.

Mobile internet subscribers saw a net increase of 3.26 mln in February, bringing the total to 883.40 mln.

Driven by the rapid rate of growth in 4G uptake and the popularity of mobile Internet-based holiday greetings during the Chinese Lunar New Year, mobile Internet traffic data consumption spiked dramatically in the first two months of the year. In Jan-Feb, mobile Internet data traffic reached 484 mln GB, up 85.5% YoY. Average monthly mobile data traffic usage per mobile subscriber reached 281.7M, up 75.1% YoY. Mobile Internet data traffic from mobile phones (as opposed to that from tablets or other mobile devices) reached 432 mln GB during the period, comprising 89.3% of total mobile Internet data traffic.

Fixed-line internet usage increased steadily during the first two months of the year, with total fixed-line broadband access time reaching 7.54 trln minutes, up 24.2% YoY.

Editor's Note: While the MIIT does not provide a figure for change in the total number of 2G subscribers, the figures they provide for the change in February of total number of mobile subscribers and net increase in 3G and 4G subscribers indicates a 21.66 mln net drop in the number of 2G subscribers during the month. As China's lowest net increase in total mobile subs in any given month since December 2013 was approximately 3 mln (and as high as 8.6 mln), the net drop in the mobile subscriber base in February 2015 suggests heavy culling of accounts by China's mobile operators. In January this year, the MIIT announced that it would strengthen efforts to enforce SIM card real name registration (please see "China to Step Up SIM Card Real Name Registration Efforts," MD 1/05/15 issue), although, as with similar efforts in the past, the operators continue to face significant challenges to full implementation (please see "China Struggles to Enforce SIM Card Real Name Registration," MD 1/25/15 issue.)

Keywords: wireless television national statistics IPTV revenue telecom 4G MIIT mobile subscribers SMS 3G fixed-line subscribers FTTH Internet access SIM card mobile Internet IPTV subscribers telephone subscribers capex registered users real name system


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