China Unicom adds most new 3G subscribers in 1H12

Operator sees 17.5 million new 3G subscribers in first half of 2012, on the back of heavier advertising and promotions, says reports.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

China Unicom adds the most number of new 3G subscribers for the first half of 2012, overtaking its rival mobile operators. However China Mobile still leads the overall mobile segment in terms of user base, according to a local report.

During the first half of 2012, China Unicom added about 17.5 million new 3G subscribers while China Mobile added around 15.87 million new 3G accounts and China Telecom saw nearly 14.67 million new subscribers, according to a Tech Sina report Monday, which compiled the subscriber numbers of the three mobile operators in China.

Analysts noted in a Businessweek report Friday that China Unicom spent "more heavily on advertising and promotion in June" compared with its rivals. User demands were also boosted by its 20 yuan (US$3) pre-paid package and the release of new handsets including those from Samsung, Motorola and HTC, they added. 

The three players added a total of nearly 48.05 million new 3G subscribers in the first half of 2012, a jump compared with 33.46 million new subscribers in the first half of 2011, said the report.

For the domestic 3G market, China Mobile still dominates with 67.08 million subscribers at the end of June 2012, Tech Sina said. China Unicom's subscriber numbers were at 57.53 million while China Telecom has 50.96 million subscribers, it added.

Overall, China Mobille leads the overall mobile market with a total of 683 million of 2G and 3G subscribers, the report said. China Unicom has the second largest market at 162 million subscribers while China Telecom has about 144.18 million users, it added.

A report by the the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in late-June said the country had 54.47 million new 2G and 3G mobile phone users udring the first five months of 2012.

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