China Mobile expects to have as many as 80 million users on its TD-SCDMA 3G network by 2011, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report that cites comments from China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Li Yizhong. That goal is a huge increase on a current official tally (as of end-June) of just 959,000, 0.2 percent of its total subscriber base (493.1 million). Speaking at a news briefing, Li reportedly added that China Mobile’s original plan was to have 10-20 million TD-SCDMA users within two years, but due to competition from its rivals China Mobile raised its target to 50-80 million, which would give it one third of the country’s total 3G market.
The world’s largest operator by subscribers is spending billions of dollars on rolling out its 3G network, aiming to deploy some 60,000 base stations in 238 cities this year. Industry watchers believe that China Mobile is at a disadvantage in having to roll-out TD-SCDMA technology (a domestically developed 3G technology) whilst rivals China Telecom and China Unicom deploy 3G networks based on globally established EV-DO and WCDMA technology, respectively.