User numbers for 3G Internet top 50 million
Updated: 2011-02-26 10:10
By Tuo Yannan (China Daily)
A cellphone user stands beside China Unicom's "3G: One Year Anniversary" poster at a telecoms exhibition in Beijing. [Photo / China Daily]
That number is expected to swell to 150 million by the end of the year, the ministry said.
"Now telecom carriers have a large number of subsidized 3G phones available to attract users", which will intensify the competition between China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, said Kevin Wang, research director of China operations at the US-based research company, iSuppli Corp.
China Mobile, China's largest telecommunication company by user numbers, plans to license up to 12.2 million units of 3G network cell phones.
China Unicom announced on Thursday that the number of subscribers using its 3G services reached 2.34 million for the month of January, an increase of 27.6 percent month-on-month.
Meanwhile, as a means of regulating and boosting its 3G market share, China Unicom will launch its own line of 3G phones - named the Wophone - to compete with China Mobile's Ophone.
The company also is formulating an anti-piracy alliance with distributors to regulate its computer 3G Internet-adapter market. Computer 3G Internet users account for 15 percent of China Unicom's new 3G users in January.
Wang from iSuppli said that application stores will become another battlefield for the telecom carriers. "All three carriers want to build their own application stores in the hope that the profit from selling applications will offset the subsidies for cell phones," said Wang.
China Mobile has already established its application store, Mobile Market. China Unicom will launch its own store - using applications based on Google's Android operating system - on Monday.
According to statistics from China Mobile, it had a total of 22.6 million 3G users in January, while China Unicom had 15.47 million and China Telecom attracted 13.64 million.
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