China Unicom – the country’s second largest operator – has cut the minimum monthly fee for its 3G service by more than half, reports Bloomberg. The company chopped prices for its lowest monthly 3G (WCDMA) service to CNY46 (US$6.90).
“The new 3G tariff packages greatly reduce the consumption threshold, while adding more minutes of local calls, and more flexible billing,” Unicom said in a statement.
The Telecommunications industry in China is dominated by three state-run mobile operators. A fierce battle for 3G market share is now underway between the three main operators: China Mobile (using TD-SCDMA), China Unicom (using WCDMA) and China Telecom (using EV-DO 3G). China Unicom added over a million 3G users in the past two months, lower than bigger rival China Mobile’s 1.7 million users added in October.
China currently has the most cell phone users in the world with over 800 million users in July 2010. China Mobile’s subscriber base has now passed the 575 million, while Unicom has more than 160 million customers. China also has the largest number of internet and broadband users in the world. China Telecom and China Unicom, combined, account for 20% of global broadband subscribers.
But the total number of 3G subscribers in China was only 38 million by the end of October 2010. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom only launched their respective 3G networks in January 2009. Compared to other countries, China’s 3G — and 4G — growth is anticipated to be spectacular.
First ranked China Mobile now has close to 17 million 3G connections, the second largest, China Unicom has 12 million 3G users, and China Telecom, the country’s third largest operator, has some 9 million 3G users.
China Mobile controls a huge 70 percent market share of China’s total mobile sector, according to Wireless Intelligence, but only has around 5 million more 3G connections than Unicom.
China Mobile’s slim lead in 3G is thought to be linked to its use of China’s homegrown TD-SCDMA technology, which does not have the global support of the more popular WCDMA and EV-DO 3G technologies being used by Unicom and Telecom, respectively.
Huawei, one of the world’s largest providers of telecommunications network equipment, has deployed a LTE TDD trial network for China Mobile.
China aims to have 150 million 3G mobile users by 2011, while investment in 3G development would hit CNY400 billion.
Dell’Oro predicts global LTE deployments will exceed $6 billion by 2014, with annual revenues of the overall annual infrastructure market revenues forecast to reach $43 billion over the next 5 years.
The Indian telecommunications industry includes some 706 Million telephone (landlines and mobile) subscribers with 670 Million mobile phone connections as of Aug 2010. Virtually none are yet 3G. According to Informa Telecoms latest forecast, the number of active mobile subscriptions in India will rise to 1.159 billion by the end of 2013, making it the world’s largest mobile market.
Only nine million of India’s 1 billion people have access to broadband. India’s Department of Telecoms hopes the country will have about 48 million broadband users by 2012, and 100 million by 2014.
ABI Research says more than two billion of the world’s population is now being covered by high-speed data networks, with more than 500 3G networks, and over 300 WiMAX and LTE announcements to date. World-wide, mobile devices with integrated wireless broadband are expected to top 2 billion by 2014, according to research firm In-Stat.
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