LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI: China Mobile aims to boost its 4G user base to 500 million by the end of the year, taking penetration above 60 per cent just three years after its LTE launch.
In the opening keynote today, Li Yue, president and CEO, said it will add another 100,000 4G base stations this year, taking its total to 1.4 million.
China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator with about 840 million total mobile connections, currently has 409 million 4G users, representing nearly 50 per cent of its user base.
4G accounted for 86 per cent of its data traffic from January to May, with that percentage forecast to rise to 90 per cent at the end of the year.
The operator also aims to sell more than one million VoLTE smartphones, launching the high-quality voice service in more than 300 cities this year.
Li said that 70 per cent of China’s smartphone users have handsets costing more than CNY1,000 ($150), which indicates their spending potential for additional services.
He noted that as an industry, telecoms players have not been responsive to the vast changes seen over the past decade as consumers become more demanding.
Changing consumer needs have forced companies to be more people-centric and focus on improving the customer experience and offer prompt responses.
“But are we responsive enough, are we agile enough, are we fast enough in responding to clients’ requests? If we move like a snail we will fail,” he said.
The new generation of mobility has changed peoples behaviour at all levels and also changed our mindset, with people now “glued to their handsets wherever they are”.
He closed by citing figures that forecast China to go from having one billion SIM cards to 10 billion by 2020, as the number of devices per person can easily jump to ten.