China had 38.64 million 3G users by the end of October, which is a threefold increase year-on-year. According to figures from the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), 25.38 million users were new subscribers in the past year.
Each of the three operators — China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom — has more than 10 million 3G users, with China Mobile leading the way with 16.98 million, followed by China Unicom with 11.66 million 3G users.
What’s interesting about these numbers is that China Mobile — which controls 70% of the market — doesn’t have that many 3G connections more than its competitors. The reason could be found in the specific 3G technology used by the world’s largest mobile operator – China Mobile uses a home-grown TD-SCDMA standard, while China Unicom and China Telecom rely on world standards – W-CDMA (HSPA) and CDMA EV-DO. As a result, the two competing operators (should) have a more comprehensive portfolio of handsets to offer.
China plans to have 150 million 3G mobile users by 2011 and somehow we’ve no doubts they’ll hit the number…