China’s two largest mobile operators shed nearly 1 million 4G subscribers in January, as customer migrations to 5G services accelerated.
Operating figures for the month released by the operators yesterday (20 February) showed China Mobile ended January with 757.8 million, down by 170,000 from end-December, while China Telecom’s 4G users fell by 660,000 to 280.6 million. In contrast, China Unicom added 1.3 million LTE subscribers.
The three signed up a combined 118 million 4G users in 2019.
Since launching LTE services in early 2014, the country made net gains in subscriber numbers each month.
China Mobile, the market leader, ended January with 6.74 million 5G subs: it’s rivals didn’t break out their numbers.
All three launched the next-generation mobile service at the end of October 2019 in parts of 50 cities.
The country also experienced its first monthly drop in mobile subscribers in more than a decade. China Unicom lost 1.2 million subs in January, taking its total to 317 million, while China Mobile’s base fell 860,000 to 949.4 million. China Telecom added 420,000 subs to end the month with 336 million.
China Unicom has lost subscribers since September 2019, when its mobile base peaked at 324.7 million.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back