China’s Big Three operators have collectively surpassed 1 billion 4G subscribers following a combined 25 million additions in December 2017.
The second half of 2017 saw a net drop in new 4G subscribers (14.9 million in November compared to 17.2 million in October and 23.2 million in August) in China, so it seemed as though China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom would not jointly reach the 1 billion subscribers milestone by the end of the year.
However, China Mobile took its total 4G subscribers up to 649.5 million with an additional 15.6 million new subscribers during December, following a relatively lacklustre November with 5.2 million new 4G users. Its LTE penetration now stands at 73.2%.
Meanwhile China Telecom and China Unicom each added around 4.5 million LTE subscribers during the month, bringing their respective year-end totals to 182 million and 174.9 million. This brought the three operators’ combined total to 1.006 billion 4G subscribers. China now accounts for 40.2% of the global total of 2.5 billion 4G connections.