China Mobile heats up fixed-line broadband market with record number of subscribers in June
Wireless network operator sets new industry milestone by adding 3.18 million customers in a month
China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless network operator by subscribers, delivered in June a five-year high in the monthly number of new fixed-line broadband subscribers for the domestic telecommunications industry.
Operating data released by China Mobile on Wednesday showed that it signed up 3.189 million fixed-line broadband subscribers last month, surpassing China Telecom’s 590,000 and China Unicom’s 249,000 net increase in the same period.
That helped China Mobile boost its total fixed-line broadband users to 65.8 million as of June 30 and a 26 per cent share of a market segment dominated by China Telecom, which had 118 million subscribers in the same period.
Jefferies equity analyst Elaine Lai said in a report that the new fixed-line broadband subscribers added by China Mobile in June was the highest monthly number recorded in the domestic telecommunications sector in the past five years.
“The last highest [monthly] net addition was 1.45 million by China Telecom, back in March 2011,” Lai said.
The new industry milestone for China Mobile followed its 31.88 billion yuan (HK$36.91 billion) purchase last year of the fixed-line network assets of China TieTong Telecommunications Corp, formerly known as China Railway Communications.
In March, China Mobile chairman Shang Bing said the TieTong acquisition would help drive the expansion of its fixed-line broadband services.
Shang said that strategy would tap into the opportunities presented by the central government’s bold “Internet Plus” policy, in which internet technologies would become integrated into traditional industries to make these advanced and more efficient.
Lai pointed out that China Mobile also has “a ready pool of mobile subscribers to whom it can cross-sell broadband services”.
China Mobile reported that it had 837.038 million total mobile subscribers at the end of June, of which 428.541 million are 4G users.
“Bundled sales strategy has worked well in many Asian markets by increasing customer stickiness,” Lai said. “What’s more, China Mobile is the low price leader [in the fixed-line broadband market segment].”
Jefferies has estimated the operator already signed up 10.8 million new customers during the first six months of this year.