China’s mobile infrastructure spending last year jumped 51 per cent to $11.1 billion as the country’s three mobile operators aggressively built out their 4G networks after receiving licences in late 2013.
China Mobile surpassed its own target of TD-LTE rollouts, ending the year with 720,000 TD-LTE base stations, said Stéphane Téral, research director for mobile infrastructure at Infonetics Research, now part of IHS.
That’s an addition of 570,000 over the previous year and well above its own plan to bring the footprint up to 500,000, illustrating its commitment to exit the 3G TD-SCDMA era as fast as possible, Téral said.
China’s mobile operators added 58 million mobile subscribers last year, pushing the number of total subscribers to 1.3 billion. Around 60 per cent of Chinese mobile subscribers are on China Mobile’s network.
China Mobile reported earlier this week that its 4G connections jumped from 90 million at the end of the year to 143 million last month. Rivals China Unicom and China Telecom together had 20 million 4G connections at the end of March.
Infonetics said Huawei and ZTE together supplied more than 60 per cent of China’s base transceiver station (BTS) units last year.
David Dai Shu, ZTE’s assistant to the president and global spokesperson, said it supplied 35-40 per cent of China’s 4G wireless gear last year and expects that percentage to be about the same this year.
He sees a window for growth in 4G of at least two to three years.