updated 04:07 pm EST, Thu February 20, 2014
Rival carriers see stagnation
China Mobile added 14 million more high-speed data subscribers in January, a growth faster than at any other time in its history, according to data from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. The 7.4 percent increase is attributed mainly to the iPhone, which Mobile started selling on January 17th. In December, by contrast, Mobile's high-speed base grew by less than 6 percent.
Rival carriers did comparatively poorly last month. China Unicom's high-speed numbers inched ahead 3.2 percent, while China Telecom remained flat, a serious issue given its status as the country's third-place provider. Mobile now controls 47 percent of all Chinese high-speed subscribers, up 10 points from a year ago.
The company was unable to offer the iPhone until late 2013, when it finally deployed and certified its TD-LTE 4G network. Its 3G network is based on TD-SCDMA, a proprietary standard that Apple refused to support since it would require a separate iPhone model. The iPhone 5s and 5c both support TD-LTE frequencies however, which made it relatively trivial to bring the devices over.