Mobile World Live’s Asia editor Joseph Waring provides a weekly update on developments in the world’s largest mobile market:
China’s MVNOs start to take off
The head of China Virtual Operators’ Industry Alliance said that the country’s MVNOs will sign up at least one million subscribers by the end of the year.
While that will fall far short of the government’s 10 million target set earlier in the year, it’s a huge improvement from just two months ago when firms complained of slow uptake and high wholesale prices offered by the country’s three mobile operators.
Since the beginning of the year when the government first made steps to open the country’s telecoms industry, licences have been issued to 25 firms.
China Unicom said the firms re-selling mobile services using its network now have 550,000 subscribers – that’s up from 180,000 at the end of July, C114.net said.
Unicom plans major 3G/4G network expansion
China Unicom reportedly will roll out a total of 330,000 FDD-LTE base stations by the end of the year, giving it continuous 4G coverage of most urban areas.
China’s second largest operator with almost 300 million connections plans to deploy another 180,000 FDD-LTE base stations in 2015, according to C114.net. China Mobile has said it now has 600,000 4G base stations.
China Unicom also aims to have seamless 3G coverage next year by adding 300,000 3G base stations, bringing its total to 730,000 if it hits that target by the end of 2015.
Possible patent trouble for Chinese smartphone makers
A number of China-based smartphone makers could soon be the target of patent infringement complaints in the US and Europe by international brands such as Nokia and Microsoft, now that the fast-growing firms have ramped up sales outside of China, DigiTimes reported.
Citing industry sources in Taiwan, DigiTimes said Xiaomi, Coolpad, Meizu, Oppo and Vivo are more vulnerable to legal action than Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo because they have no significant patent portfolio.
Handset shipments fall 24% in China — MIIT
Mobile phone shipments in China in the first 10 months of the year fell 24 per cent to 363 million units from the previous year, according to a division of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The China Academy of Telecommunication Research reported that 2G handset shipments fell 67 per cent to 48.193 million and 3G handset shipments fell 38 per cent to 206 million, C114.net said. 4G phone shipments hit 108 million during the 10-month period, with 21.2 million shipped in October.