3G not catching on in China

3G isn't catching on in China. Quarterly results released by two of China's mobile operators aren't encouraging for 3G, surprising many who believed the market was ripe for high-speed mobile given the country's tech-savvy consumers.

China Mobile reported just 700,000 new subscribers to its 3G service during the third quarter, bringing its total 3G subscriber base to 1.65 million accounts, equivalent to 0.3 percent of its 508.4 million subscriber base.

Despite launching the highly coveted iPhone Oct. 1, China Unicom has reportedly only secured 10,000 pre-orders of the 3G version of the device. Expensive handsets, hefty prepayment costs and a lack of built-in WiFi connectivity were cited as concerns.

3G services are so far available in some 40 mainland Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and other affluent areas along the east coast. By year's end coverage is expected to be extended into 280 cities.

To spur adoption, analysts are expecting the country's three main operators, which includes China Telecom, to begin a pricing war. But analysts also caution that the Chinese market is maturing and operators aren't likely to see the explosive growth operators are accustomed to.

For more:
- see this MarketWatch article

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