A Look At China Unicom’s Subscriber Performance Over The First Half Of 2019

by Trefis Team
China Unicom
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China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) has underperformed its rivals China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) in terms of net subscriber additions over the first half of 2019. In this analysis, we take a look at how the major Chinese carriers fared in recent months.

View our interactive dashboard analysis How Did China Unicom’s Subscriber Metrics Trend Over The First Half Of 2019?

China Unicom Underperformed In Terms Of Subscriber Adds, With Net Adds Slowing 50% YoY

  • China Unicom posted 9.3 million subscribers adds over H1, marking a decline of almost 50% compared to the last year.
  • In comparison, China Mobile added 10 million subscribers, down 45% YoY, and China Telecom added 20 million subscribers, down 42% YoY.
  • The slowing growth is likely due to increasing saturation in the Chinese wireless space.

China Telecom Looks Set To Replace China Unicom As Second Largest Carrier

  • China Mobile (CHL) remained the undisputed leader in terms of overall subscribers, with over 930 million users, while China Unicom (CHU) is a distant second with 324 million subscribers.
  • China Telecom (CHA) looks set to overtake China Unicom in the coming months, driven by its improving coverage and attractive plans targeted at heavy data users.

China Unicom’s Growth Has Tapered Off In Recent Months

  • China Unicom saw limited subscriber adds over the last 3 months, as the broader industry slowed down.

China Has Lowest Base Of High-Speed Data Users, But Its Mix Is Growing Faster

  • About 74% of China Unicom’s user base is on high-speed data plans, below rivals China Telecom and China Mobile.


  • With the Chinese wireless market as a whole slowing down, on account of increasing saturation, China Unicom is likely to face some pressure in the near-term.
  • The carrier, which received its commercial 5G license in June, along with its rivals, is likely to be counting on this next-generation technology to drive its next wave of growth.



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