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China’s telecommunications trio of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom has formally announced that they have surpassed the 1bn 4G subscriber mark. The historic milestone was reached in December 2017, following an increase of almost 25 million LTE subs in that month alone.

It was looking increasingly likely that they wouldn’t surpass the 1bn figure following a slowdown in net4G addition in the second half of the year in 2017. There was just 14.9m subscriptions in November compared to 23.2 in August and 17.2 in October.

However, the decision by the largest mobile operator in the world China Mobile to add 15.6m 4G subs, taking its total to 649.5 million which subsequently gave the operator a LTE penetration of 73.2% helped boost the flagging figures from the previous month. In addition to this, it was disclosed that China Mobile added 5.2 million 4G subscribers in November.

China’s other two main telecommunication entities China Telecom and China Unicom each signed up about 4.5m LTE subs in December. This resulted in them ending the year with 182m and 174.9 respectively. It was claimed that both operators’ 4G growth pattern was similar in comparison to the previous month.

Figures that were released on the operators’ official websites indicated that they finished December with a combined 1.006 billion 4G connections. Data provided by GSMA Intelligence estimates that China accounts for around 40.2% of a total of 2.5 billion global 4G connections by the end of 2017.

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