Number of new Chinese 3G users slide heading into Apple iPhone launch on China Mobile

Number of new Chinese 3G users slide heading into Apple iPhone launch on China Mobile
January 17th may seem like a normal day for most people, but for those Apple executives in Cupertino, it will be the culmination of years of meetings. That will be the day that the Apple iPhone will finally be made officially available to customers of China Mobile, the world's largest carrier. Earlier this month, we passed along the news that smartphone growth in the country was falling heading into the launch. Now, that news is confirmed by another report showing that the number of new 3G subscribers in China is also declining.

In September, 17 million 3G units were activated in China, and that number declined to 13.4 million the following month. In November, the number of 3G activations was down to 11 million. For the current quarter, 12.5 million to 13 million new 3G users a month are expected, which would be a 27% decline from the 17 million to 18 million new 3G accounts a month activated in the previous quarter.

The reason this is important, especially heading into the launch of the iPhone on China Mobile, is that 3G activations are considered a good substitue for smartphone activations in China. Those with a 2G signal tend to be sporting a feature phone. With the number of 3G users in decline, and the Apple iPhone expected to grab a large share of new smartphone purchases, it could leave very scant takings for the rest of the smartphone OEMs in the country.

Going into the launch, the Apple iPhone 5s is the second most popular phone in China, while the Apple iPhone 5c is not listed in the top 20.

source: USAToday via BGR

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