China Mobile isn’t just the largest of China’s state-run wireless carriers, it’s the largest wireless carrier in the world, with almost double the number of subscribers as Vodafone, which is the world’s second-largest wireless carrier. The company didn’t fare too well in the 3G era because the standard it ran wasn’t all that popular, but it’s making up for this by taking full advantage of China’s 4G explosion, and it plans to have more than 500 million 4G users by the end of 2016. To put that into perspective, China Mobile’s 4G userbase will be larger than the population of the United States by 2017.
China Mobile, one of China’s three massive state-run telecom companies, is planning a 4G explosion in 2016. 4G is already well off the ground in China – in fact China Mobile already has more than 200 million 4G subscribers – but the company is planning a massive expansion in 2016 that will see it add 300,000 new 4G stations to significantly increase its 4G coverage in 2016. But the company has an even more ambitious goal for 2016: China Mobile VP Li Huidi says the company expects to have broken 500 million users by the end of that year. China Mobile currently has about 1 million 4G base stations, according to Li, so in 2016 it plans a 30 percent increase in coverage. Given that it’s aiming for something more like a 100 percent increase in subscribers, the company is obviously banking on more people in currently-covered areas to jump onboard the 4G train. Its 4G subscriber numbers have been growing quickly in 2015, so that my be a reasonable expectation.