How Did Chinese Wireless Carriers Fare In April?

CHU: China Unicom logo
China Unicom

Chinese wireless carriers had a relatively mixed performance during the month of April. While China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) fared the best, adding 5.57 million mobile subscribers, likely driven by its expanding coverage and its promotion of larger data traffic products, which are increasingly popular with subscribers. Meanwhile, China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) added about 3 million subscribers while market leader China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) underperformed significantly, posting just about 1 million subscriber additions. Things were mixed on the 4G front as well, with the big three players adding or migrating a cumulative 7.5 million subscribers to their 4G services over the month. This is down from levels of ~15 million in the year-ago period. The slowing growth is driven primarily by increasing saturation in the high-speed wireless space, as about 71% of Chinese wireless subscribers are on 4G services currently, up from ~62% in the year-ago period. China Mobile actually reported a net loss of 2.4 million 4G subscribers, marking its first recorded drop in this key metric.

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