Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/13/2013 -- BMI View: The Chinese telecommunications industry is the biggest in the world in terms of existing size and growth potential in light of the country's sizeable population. The 1.1bn mobile subscribers represent only a penetration rate of 80%, with a large proportion of consumers in rural regions still untapped. However, fulfilling the potential requires significant investment from the private and public sector, a capability that could weaken if the broader economy deteriorates. That said, we maintain our view that the prospects for H113 look relatively bright.
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- With the availability of end-December 2012 subscriber data, we have tweaked our expectations for China's mobile, fixed-line and broadband sectors. By 2017, we forecast 1.6bn mobile subscribers, of which 35.6% are using 3G subscription.
- While the growth trajectory in the fixed broadband market is forecast to remain robust, we expect mobile broadband solutions to outperform, especially when LTE services are on the horizon.
- ARPU levels are forecast to trend downwards due to competition and rural expansion, although the strong demand for 3G services is still providing support.
Key Trends And Developments
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has issued a draft proposal for the introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Network operators, namely China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, will be required to partner with at least two MVNOs during the twoyear trial. Optimistically, operations could start as early as April 2013.
The MIIT has also introduced new regulations that aim to increase fibre broadband adoption and speeds in the country, most notably by levelling the playing field. One of the provisions is to ensure that future housing projects will come equipped with fibre technology, thereby eliminating time and upgrade cost from older copper networks. This move also elevates broadband connectivity to the same status as utilities such as water and electricity.
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