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Mobile Operators and Networks

The Mobile Economy China 2022

Since the initial outbreak of Covid-19, mobile networks have been instrumental in providing the reliable connectivity needed to sustain social and economic activities. Across China, operators have harnessed their networks to support frontline healthcare efforts and protect vulnerable individuals and communities. Further, mobile technologies and services are delivering significant economic impacts in China, adding $900 billion in value (5.6% of GDP) in 2021. Going forward, mobile will be vital to helping governments drive economic recovery, promote sustainable growth and increase resilience to future shocks.

Meanwhile, rapid take-up of 5G among Chinese consumers means that the region is one of the global leaders in terms of 5G adoption. In 2021, the region added 285 million 5G connections. Growth in 5G adoption in China is supported by aggressive network rollouts, enthusiasm from users and strong sales of compatible devices. As a result, 4G adoption declined in 2021 – and it will continue to trend downwards in the coming years as consumers switch to increasingly ubiquitous 5G services.

By the end of 2021, over 1.2 billion people in China subscribed to mobile services, placing China among the world’s most developed mobile markets. Though unique subscriber growth is slowing, smartphone adoption and mobile internet usage continue to grow steadily as operators focus on expanding access to digital services. More than 1 billion people in the China region now use mobile internet services and this figure is expected to increase by close to 150 million by 2025.

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