Cellcos to renew handset subsidy push, China nears 100m LTE users

20 Jan 2015

China’s three mobile providers are to resume their focus on handsets after a change of policy last year saw China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom cut subsidies for devices. WantChinaTimes cites local industry outlets, writing that the cellcos are expected to concentrate subsidies on handsets priced under CNY1,000 (USD162.9). Telecom has revealed its intention to plough CNY16 billion in handset subsidies and to develop its HiChina retail channel in 2015, with a view to achieving full-year sales of more than 100 million devices. Unicom has set a similar target, looking to sell 100 million devices compatible with both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division (TD) Long Term Evolution (LTE) standards. China Mobile, meanwhile, the world’s largest cellco by subscribers, has set its sights on sales of 250 million devices in 2015, 200 million of which are to be 4G-compatible. The cellco expects to spend CNY15 billion on device subsidies, as well as CNY30 billion on subscribers’ bills, with a further CNY1 billion lined up for sales commissions.

In related news, the trio have published their customer data for end-December 2014, with China Mobile counting 90.064 million 4G subscribers and 245.753 million 3G users out of a total customer base of 806.634 million. Second-placed Unicom meanwhile claimed a total user base of 299.098 million, with 149.105 million 3G and 4G subscribers. Telecom represented 185.62 million subscribers, of which 118.63 million were signed up to 3G and 4G packages. Neither Telecom nor Unicom provided separate 4G subscriber numbers.