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China’s vast mobile market now led by 4G subscribers

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Joseph Cormier
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Nearly 60 per cent of all mobile subscribers in mainland China are now on 4G networks, just two years after the high-speed wireless broadband service was launched in the country, which may indicate how fast the transition to 5G will happen there by the end of this decade.

Total 4G subscribers of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom reached 789.5 million as of January 31, according to data from separate regulatory filings by the three Hong Kong-listed network operators.

That has put 59 per cent of the domestic market on 4G, Bernstein Research estimated.

If measured since the launch of 4G services, China s 4G adoption rate has been much faster than that of Japan and the United States, and a bit quicker than South Korea s, Bernstein senior analyst Chris Lane told the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.

China Mobile, the world s biggest wireless network operator, had 552.2 million 4G subscribers at the end of January, which put it on pace to hit 753 million 4G users by the end of this year, Lane said.

The company was first to launch commercial 4G mobile service in the world s second-largest economy in January 2014, with a network built on the mainland-developed 4G standard called time division long-term evolution.

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