China remains Asia’s 5G powerhouse
73% of China Mobile customers are ‘5G package’ subscribers
China continues to solidify its position as the leader in Asia’s 5G service market, with China Mobile at the forefront which stands as the single largest mobile operator worldwide.
According to Kagan data, China Mobile Communications Group Co. Ltd., or China Mobile remains to be the leading mobile operator globally by any measure, including subscribers and base stations.
As of June 2023, China Mobile was reported to have 985 million mobile subscribers. Of these customers, the company claimed that 73% or 721 million are “5G package” subscribers or those who have subscribed to its 5G tariff plans.
China Mobile's commitment to expanding its 5G network is also evident in its addition of 301,000 5G base stations during the first half of 2023, increasing the total count to 1.8 million across China.
Meanwhile, China’s second-largest mobile network operator, the China Telecom Corp. Ltd., already surpassed the 400 million mobile subscriber benchmark as of the end of June 2023—reaching a total of 401.9 million users. Similar to China Mobile, about 73% of China Telecom’s customers, or at least 295 million, are 5G package subscribers.
China Unicom, another player in the Chinese mobile market, has also seen growth in its mobile and 5G subscriber counts. Although specific subscriber numbers were not disclosed, the company revealed that it has about 232 million 5G package subscribers.
5G systems vendor highlights
On the vendor front, Kagan report showed that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. remains the overall 5G/small cell infrastructure market leader, due almost exclusively to the company's success in its home market of mainland China, and the broader Asia-Pacific region, where total shipments “dwarf those of other markets and regions.”
During the first half of 2023, key mobile operator wins, or contract enhancements/expansions in the Asia Pacific region announced by vendor Ericsson included PT Telekomunikasi Selular in Indonesia, and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.
For Nokia Corp., key 5G customer wins or contract enhancements during the same period in the region included NOW Telecom Co. Inc. (Philippines), China Unicom, and Antina Pte. Ltd. (Singapore).
For ZTE, included are Telkomsel (Indonesia), Telekom Malaysia, China Unicom, China Mobile, and Advanced Info Service PCL (Thailand), while Samsung included KDDI Corp. (Japan), and Naver Cloud Co. Ltd. (private network for Hoban Construction in South Korea)