China is on track to surpass 1 billion mobile connections before the end of the current quarter, fuelled by growth in 3G which will soon account for a quarter of the country's connections. According to Wireless Intelligence, China ended 2011 with 973.7 million connections, up about 16 percent year-on-year. The number of 3G connections surpassed 200 million in Q4 and accounted for 22 percent of the total. Market penetration is estimated at 72 percent, up almost 10 percent from a year ago. 3G is now accounting for almost 80 percent of new connections in the country and 3G net additions in Q4 are estimated at 26.8 million out of a total 34.2 million. China Mobile remains the country's market leader, with an estimated 648.7 million connections in Q4, giving it a 67 percent market share. However, 3G connections account for just 8 percent of China Mobile's total base. 3G accounted for 20 percent of the total at second-placed Unicom, while third-placed China Telecom had 26 percent of its base migrated to 3G.
Source: Telecom Paper.