China Mobile has announced that it expects the number of 4G customers to surpass 700 million next year from the current number of 625 million. With regards to broadband users China Mobile expects the number of household broadband users to surpass 130 million next year. Additionally the Chinese telecommunications giant expects the number of IoT connections to increase from 200 million currently to 320 million next year.
To achieve its goal of raising the number of IoT connections by over 50% China Mobile has indicated that it will offer subsidies totaling approximately $303 million to IoT device makers. This was disclosed by Li Yue, China Mobile’s general manager, who said the subsidies are aimed at lowering the prices of IoT devices in order to increase adoption rates.
Narrow-band IoT technology
According to Yue, half of the subsidies will go to makers of narrow-band IoT modules while the rest will go to makers of 4G IoT modules. With narrow-band IoT being relatively new, mobile network operators are in a race to dominate the sub-sector.
“Narrow band IoT is the latest IoT battlefield that global telecom carriers are scrambling for so they can establish a beachhead,” Xiang Ligang, the chief executive officer of Cctime, a telecom industry website, said.
The narrow-band IoT technology is capable of connecting low-power devices numbering billions including smart meters, to transmit small bandwidth amounts. This technology can also be used for long without encountering interference. Additionally it is superior to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
This comes amidst a report showing that the big three telecommunication operators in China added 4G subscribers numbering approximately 17.2 million last month and the total number has now reached 967 million. In September 18.4 million 4G subscribers had been added while in August the figure was 23.3 million. Currently 69% of the mobile subscribers in China are on 4G. It is expected that if the current uptake pace continues, there will be more than 1 billion 4G subscribers in China by the end of next month.
China Mobile, which is the market leader in China, added LTE subscribers numbering 6.9 million last month giving the telecommunications giant a 65% market share. LTE subscribers numbering 5.1 million were added by China Unicom last month bringing the total number to 165.4 million. China Telecom, on the other hand, added subscribers numbering 5.2 million bringing the total to nearly 173 million. The total subscriber base of the three operators is now 1.41 billion having risen by 9.8 million in October.