China Mobile 4G customer base reaches 40m; more MVNOs on the horizon

6 Oct 2014

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile provider by subscribers, has signed up 40 million 4G subscribers, Xinhua News reports. The cellco passed the milestone on 3 October and expects that number to rise to 50 million by the end of the year. China Mobile attributed its success to the rapid expansion of its Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network, which now consists of more than 500,000 base stations, serving upwards of 300 cities. Meanwhile, Mobile has extended 4G roaming services to 27 countries including the US, Japan and Italy, as well as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Taiwan. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, China Mobile’s recent 4G expansion will give the operator the second largest LTE subscriber base in the world, behind Verizon Wireless of the US, which represented 53.7 million 4G users at end-June 2014. Indeed, Mobile’s 4G user base will rival those of Japan and South Korea, home to the second and third largest number of LTE subscribers respectively (51.23 million and 32.60 million), after the US (136.02 million) at end-June 2014.

In other news, Chinese regulator the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is preparing to issue a fourth round of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences. Mobile World Live cites Chinese-language news portal C114.net as saying that new MVNO licences are due to be handed out shortly, with Hainan Airlines, Foxconn, Lenovo, Haier and Xiaomi pegged as the likely recipients.