China has a significant gap in mobile Internet with the rest of the world:
– the current [end of H1CY10] share of 3G technologies in China are:
• 1.9% (10.46 million) for TD-SCDMA/China Mobile (w/ 554M subscribers),
• 4.8% (7.56 million) for W-CDMA/China Unicom (w/157M subscribers) and
• 9.6% (7.18 million) for CDMA2000/China Telecom (w/ 74.5M subscribers)
• which is 3.2% (25.2 million) overall 3G share of mobile connections (785.5 million) for China as a whole
– meanwhile W-CDMA (as the dominant 3G technology in the world) has:
• 12% (600 million) of the mobile connections worldwide (5 billion)
• 13.3% (600 million) of the joint GSM+W-CDMA connections worldwide (4.5 billion)
– and even for the more advanced mobile broadband Internet the current estimated share of:
• joint HSPA and EV-DO families is 6.8% (340 million) of the mobile connections worldwide (5 billion)
• HSPA family is 4.2% (~210 million) of the mobile connections worldwide (5 billion)
• HSPA family is 4.7% (~210 million) of the joint GSM+W-CDMA connections worldwide (4.5 billion)
• EV-DO family is 26% (~130 million) of the whole CDMA connections worldwide (500 million)
Closing that gap would be especially difficult because by far the biggest gap –with current 3G share of only 1.9%– is for China Mobile owning 70.5% of mobile connections and providing the China only TD-SCDMA technology as the path to 3G and beyond.
- see: the Note within OPhone OS (OMS) 2.0 based on Android 2.1 [July 5]
- see: Mobile Internet [July 19] (core information)
– MediaTek, Mstar Push Into TD-SCDMA Market [Oct 21]:
… number of the mainland`s TD-SCDMA subscribers has grown at exponential rate into the second half of this year, especially in the latest two months in which a net one million additional subscribers were signed up each month.
… In light of such rapid growth, providers of wireless solutions are competing to roll out TD-SCDMA solutions. Among them are Leadcore Technology Co., Ltd., a firmware developer held by telecom-equipment supplier Datang Telecom Technology Co. of the mainland in addition to MediaTek, Mstar and Qualcomm Inc.
Leadcore has recently introduced a less expensive TD-SCDMA solution, which is quoted at only US$9. Yulong Computer Telecomm Scientific (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., a leading supplier of smartphones in China, has reportedly adopted the solution.
MediaTek is developing several solutions including the one called TD Protocol Stack. Industry executives believes the company will make some available by the end of this year.
Spreadtrum Telecommunications Inc., China`s homegrown chip designer, is now the major supplier of TD-SCDMA chips at home.
Pushed by China Mobile, TD-SCDMA handsets and smartphones at retail prices of about 500 yuan (US$75) and 1,000 yuan respectively will be available in the China market in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The TD-SCDMA industry has been developing for 4-5 years, resulting in a supply chain of more than 100 players, according to secretary-general Yang Hua for the TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance. There are 7-8 developers of TD-SCDMA chips currently, with chip prices falling 60-70% over a year to US$8-10 at present, Yang indicated.
Five international and many China-based vendors had launched 461 TD-SCDMA handsets as of the end of August 2010, with Samsung Electronics the largest international vendor, Yang pointed out. However, a single TD-SCDMA model can reach sales of 200,000-300,000 handsets only, a volume too small to be able to push down component costs, according to Taiwan-based handset makers. China Mobile is setting up its fourth-phase TD-SCDMA network of more than 100,000 base stations and expects the number of TD-SCDMA subscribers to increase from 13.42 million currently to 100 million in 2012.
- – China market: 3G subscribers to top 45 million by year-end 2010, says Digitimes Research [Sept 16]. “China Mobile is expected to see the number of its 3G subscribers reach 18.8 million by the end of 2010” [remaining at the same 42% market share as of the end of June 2010].
– 3G Mobile Phone Shipment In China Is Expected To Increase Five-fold In 2010 [July 23]
According to iSuppli Ltd analysis, due to wireless carriers providing heavily subsides, the mobile phones consumer prices fell down. It is expected that China’s domestic 3G mobile phone shipments will grow nearly five times, and the volume is expected to reach 42.97 million in 2010.
… TD-SCDMA mobile phone domestic shipments in 2010 will increase to 20.4 million, from 1.3 million in 2009.
… The iSuppli Corporation predicts that by the end of 2014, the total number of wireless subscribers in China will rise to 1.1 billion, 3G subscribers will increase to 230 million. …
It is worth to copy here the latest chart of 3G growth in China, as well as a table and another chart from the above places, to see that the rate of growth shown so far is not enough:
The Q2CY10 growth rate for China Mobile was 36% which is giving a seemingly impressive 242.4% yearly growth if continued that way. With that China Mobile will have just 35.8 million 3G subscribers by the end of next June which would be still between 5% and 6% of the overall number of their subscribers. Meanwhile the number of W-CDMA Family connections worldwide would probably grow to around 16% (to ~960M, from current 12% i.e. 600M), and even mobile broadband connections worldwide for the HSPA family alone would grow to around 5.7% (to ~340M from current 4.2% i.e. ~210M) of all mobile connections globally (by the end of next June).
I’ve come to these results from the following table and the source data behind that another chart (copied here from Mobile Internet [July 19]:
3.9G TD-LTE rollout in 2012 with integrated 2G, 3G and 4G? [July 19] is already a sign of taking additional extraordinary measures in this regard. For the Chinese it is not a question whether they could close the gap in mobile Internet. They are understanding pretty well that they should close that gap as soon as possible! Whatever it takes.