Definitive data and analysis for the mobile industry
Module: Mobile Operators and Networks

The Mobile Economy China 2021

Mobile networks have been instrumental in providing the connectivity to sustain social and economic activities through the pandemic. Despite the surge in data traffic in China, networks largely remained resilient, underlining the significant investments in advanced networks by operators in recent years. One of the most remarkable contributions of mobile connectivity to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 is the use of advanced and innovative digital solutions to support various response measures. Across China, mobile networks, and 5G in particular, have supported frontline healthcare efforts to stem the rate of infections while also enabling remote business operations to comply with social distancing rules.

Due to the rapid take-up of 5G in China, the region sits among the global leaders in terms of 5G adoption. In 2020, the region added more than 200 million 5G connections. Growth in 5G adoption in the China region is supported by aggressive network rollout and a growing device ecosystem. The swift transition to 5G means that 4G adoption has now peaked in the China region. 4G adoption contracted for the first time in 2020, and it will continue to trend downwards in the coming years as consumers switch to increasingly ubiquitous 5G services.

By the end of 2020, 1.22 billion people subscribed to mobile services in China, placing China among the world’s most developed mobile markets. Mobile internet adoption and usage continues to grow steadily as operators focus on expanding access to digital services. More than 990 million people in the China region now use mobile internet services and this figure is expected to increase by a further 200 million by 2025.

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