The number of 4G net additions in China accelerated to 35.3 mn in December, versus 21.9 mn in November. Across FY16 as a
whole China Mobile added 222.8 mn 4G subscribers, China Telecom added 63.4 mn and Unicom added 60.4 mn.
The fact that China Mobile and China Telecom comfortably exceeded their targets, while Unicom met its target, bodes well for a 'win-win' competitive environment as the market expands. 'Fairlooking' net add share across 2016 (China Mobile 64.3% of 4G net adds, Unicom 17.4%, China Telecom 18.3%) also lowers the (key) risk of further regulatory interference, in our view.
China Mobile added 25.2 mn 4G net adds in December, double the 12.5 mn 4G subscribers added in November. Across FY16 as a whole, China Mobile added 222.8 mn 4G net adds and reached 535.0 mn, well ahead of its 'unofficial' target of 500 mn 4G subs by the end of FY16.
China Unicom' 4G subscriber base rose by 5.5 mn MoM in December, representing an acceleration versus the 5.0 mn 4G net adds recorded in November. More importantly, Unicom added 60.4 mn 4G net adds across FY16 as a whole, and therefore met its unofficial target of 60 mn, in a material improvement versus the 34.7 mn 3G/4G net adds recorded in 2015.
China Telecom's 4G net add numbers also accelerated, to 4.6 mn in December compared with 4.3 mn in November. Across FY16 as a whole China Telecom added 63.4 mn 4G subscribers, beating its guidance of 60 mn 4G net adds by year end.