China’s three mobile operators added nearly 60 million 4G connections in the first two months of the year, giving the country 483 million LTE connections, or more than 40 per cent of the global total.
Market leader China Mobile, with 831 million total mobile connections, continued to expand its lead after adding 38 million 4G users in January-February. It now has 360 million 4G connections or 75 per cent of the country’s total.
China Telecom, the number three player with almost 201 million connections, added 10.6 million 4G users during that period, taking its 4G total to 69 million. China Unicom also signed up nearly 11 million 4G subscribers, giving it nearly 55 million 4G connections.
According to GSMA Intelligence, global LTE connections reached almost 1.1 billion at the end of 2015 and were estimated at 1.22 billion at the end of Q1.
The three operators had a net increase of 13.3 million connections for the January-February period, with the vast majority of their 4G customers moving from 2G or 3G plans. China Mobile and China Unicom each added more than five million new customers.
4G users represent 43 per cent of China Mobile’s total – 3G users have fallen to just 19 per cent of its total user base. A third of China Telecom’s connections are now 4G, while 21 per cent of China Unicom’s 258 million total connections are 4G.