China MVNOs double user base to 43M through 2016
China’s 37 MVNOs more than doubled their subscriber base during 2016 to 43 million, which represents 3 per cent of the country’s mobile connections.
According to C114.net, the largest MVNO Snail Mobile holds more than eight million subscribers, while seven players each have more than two million mobile connections. Combined, the eight operators control more than 60 per cent of the MVNO market. Eighteen MVNOs have more than 500,000 subscribers each and 11 have over one million each.
Snail Mobile operates MVNO service in more than 100 cities using China Unicom’s network.
Analysts say three or four MVNOs will likely control 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the subscribers in the near future, but the sector is yet to be hit by consolidation.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information (MIIT) issued 37 MVNO licences in 2014 to spur competition in the mobile sector. MVNO connections increased from 1.6 million at end-2014 to 20 million at the end of 2015.
The country’s MVNO market, like in many countries, is characterised by low ARPU and with a focus on low-end, prepaid users.