Coronavirus has impacted China’s mobile base in a big way. The cumulative mobile subscriber base has decreased by 14.9 million in the first two months of 2020 to reach a cumulative base of 1,589.9 million from a peak of 1,604.4 million in December 2019.
In January 2019, China Mobile had 927.5 million mobile subscribers and this base has been increasing every month till December 2019 to reach 950.3 million. Both in January 2020 and February 2020, there has been a dip in subscriber base and the total dip in 2 months is to the tune of 8.1 million. In February 2020, China Mobile had 942.2 mn mobile subscriber base.
Drop in mobile subscriber base for China:
Operator – Subscribers (in mn)
China Mobile – 8.1
China Telecom – 5.6
China Unicom* – 1.2
Total – 14.9 mn
Source: Company Reports
* January 2020 figures; China Mobile and China Telecom February 2020 figures
China Unicom had a subscriber base of 317.8 million in January 2019 and this has been increasing every month till September 2019 to reach 324.7 million. The company has seen a dip in subscriber base from October 2019 – January 2020. In January 2020, China Unicom mobile subscriber base had reached 317.3 million showing a dip of 1.2 million vis-a-vis December 2019 figures.
In January 2019, China Telecom had a subscriber base of 307.3 million mobile subscribers. This base has been increasing every month to reach 336 mn mobile subscribers in January 2020. In February 2020, the total subscriber base stood at 330.4 million, showing a dip of 5.6 million vis-a-vis January 2020 figures.
It is difficult to predict the real reason for such fall in subscriber base to the tune of 14.9 million but definitely experts believe that Coronavirus would have some role to play in this decrease in subscriber base.