NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- China, the world's largest mobile phone market, recently crossed the one billion mobile connections mark in March. To put this number in perspective, the U.S. currently has just over 330 million active connections in all.
While the Chinese figure may not be reflective of the actual number of mobile users in country, as some of these connections are currently inactive, it is still a compelling statistic that shows the huge growth opportunity that China presents for many smartphone manufacturers. At the same time, it is also a huge opportunity for the incumbent Chinese telecom providers such as China Mobile (CHL), China Unicom (CHU) and China Telecom (CHA)to tap their huge 2G subscriber base and drive the demand for the more lucrative 3G data services.
Of the three Chinese carriers, China Telecom may be the smallest but its subscriber base of over 135 million (135.83 million as of March) easily puts most wireless carriers in the developed world to shame. The largest wireless carrier in the U.S., Verizon, has about 110 million total connections currently and it operates in an increasingly saturated market.
3G Market in China Is an Equitable MixWith close to 670 million subscribers, China Mobile is the largest wireless carrier in the world and has almost six times as many subscribers as China Telecom. But when it comes to 3G, the difference is not nearly as much. As of March 2012, China Mobile had around 60 million 3G subscribers, only about 36% ahead of about 44 million that subscribe to China Telecom's 3G network. China Telecom announced last week that it had added 2.4 million 3G subscribers in March, which is about 30% of the overall 3G adds for the month in China. Low 3G penetration in China is giving smaller wireless carriers such as China Telecom ample opportunity to compete on an even ground with the otherwise dominant China Mobile.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV