Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/15/2014 -- The Chinese telecommunications industry is the biggest in the world in terms of existing size and growth potential, with the 1.2bn mobile subscriptions representing only a penetration rate of 87.3% at the end of September 2013. There are substantial growth opportunities in rural regions, where markets are still untapped, and the arrival of MVNO operators should catalyse competition for these lower value subscribers. Meanwhile at the other end of the market, demand for 3G and 4G services is growing rapidly, particularly in urban areas. Domestic operators are tapping this trend, and with the liberalisation of the VAS segment foreign investors can now also gain exposure. There is however downside to this bullish outlook due to the heavy investment burden in the telecoms industry, a capability that could weaken if the broader economy deteriorates.
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- The latest data from operators show the mobile market continued to expand in 9M13, with total subscriptions increasing to 1.209bn at the end of September 2013.
- The decline in fixed-line subscriptions accelerated in 2013, with the total number falling 4% to a low of 267mn at YE13.
- Fixed broadband still has strong growth momentum, with total subscriptions up 7.8% in 2013 to 188.9mn at YE13.
Key Trends And Developments
Regulatory developments of great significance for the mobile market occurred in late 2013 and early 2014. The licensing of MVNOs took place in December 2013 and January 2014, a development BMI expects to catalyse subscription growth as new players target underserved rural and low income consumer groups. MVNO licenses were awarded to 19 operators, including Suzhou Snail Digital Technology, Love Strickland, Changjian Times Communications, 35 Internet, Telling and Alibaba Group.
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