China Telecom, the third largest mobile player in the mainland, edged closer to number two China Unicom after adding 53 million new subscribers in 2018.
With 303 million total subs, China Telecom ended the year with a 19.6 per cent market share compared with 20.4 per cent for China Unicom, which concluded 2018 with 315 million subscribers after adding 31 million during the year.
At end 2017, China Unicom had a 20 per cent share versus China Telecoms 17.6 per cent.
The 4G gap between the two operators widened as China Telecoms user numbers expanded by 60 million taking its total to 242 million. China Unicom, meanwhile, ended 2018 with 219 million 4G subscribers, some 44 million up on 2017.
Market leader China Mobile grew 4G subscribers by 64 million raising its total to nearly 713 million.
It ended the year with a total of 925 million subscribers, up by 38 million year-on-year, and a 60 per cent market share.
The state-owned companies 1.174 billion LTE connection represent 34 per cent of the global total of 3.43 billion, Q4 2018 data from GSMA Intelligence showed.
With customers continuing to migrate to 4G, total 3G connections dropped to 94 million from 139 million at end-2017.
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