back to article China overestimates 3G numbers by HALF

The Chinese government has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn after admitting that previously estimated figures for 3G subscriptions in the country were double what they should have been. Wei Leping, deputy standing director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Communications Science & Technology …


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  1. n4blue

    not 'arf

    Surely your headline should be 'China overestimates 3G numbers by 100%' or simliar - the current version implies the overestimate was 50%, which contradicts what the article says.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All those little Chinese buying into the 3G dream and finding that it is not 3G after all, however with sufficient censorship no one who knows anf is not allowed to say and no one who doesn't know can't work it out either. Therefore huge increase in 3G sales even if it is not quite what it seems.

    2. Charles Manning

      My favourite pedant too

      What do they mean when they say "reduced speed by 5 times""?

      If they said a 5 times reduction in velocity, that's easy. If they started out at 20 metres per second forward then they'd be going backwards at 80 metres per second. Not the 4 metres per second many would be hoping for.

      But speed has no direction, so a reduction of speed by 5 times is impossible unless you started off stationary.

      I tried a little rant like that when answering an exam question at high school which lost me a few percent. Sometimes there are more important things than marks.

      I've got a lot more tolerant of human foibles as I have grown older.

  2. geejayoh

    Depends on what you call 3G

    I live in China and happily move along on my HTC Desire with China Unicom and their "3G" service. Unless the phone is lying, that actually uses HSDPA.

    The China mobile that most people use, and Unicom drops to on the metro is Edge. I thought that was considered 3G, or is that only 2.5G?

    iPhones are incredibly popular here - but the major use for them in is to get weibo (microblogging) or read text based web pages. The 3G services are available (if you want to cripple yourself with a CDMA tech that only works there or you can go with Unicom).

    People here are penny pichers - they want the iPhone to show off, but most of them don't have demand for videos or music streaming. They will simply download it and put it on their phones.

    Chinese home-grown services like PPTV / PPS let users stream movies, but also download them. Copyright is non existent here. If you have a Chinese IP - Baidu has an MP3 search feature that lets you download any music you want. It's no surprise that outside of China the MP3 search doesn't work - the government doesn't want the west making accusations of rife copyright fraud.

    You're right, subs will go up as will demand. But the demand is of a completely different nature here. The explosion of bandwidth use from apps such as spotify won't happen, because people won't pay unless the culture completely changes.

  3. Michael Jennings

    It's all about the long saga of TD-SCDMA and whether it actually works.

    "Mistake". Ha. Try "lying".

    For 3G, China Mobile uses a strange TD-SCDMA standard that doesn't really work. It is possible to just about use it for cordless fixed, and China Mobile has thus pushed it very hard in this market so that they can then claim that an inflated number of people are using TD-SCDMA, because politicians want to tell them that they have a lot of people using it. That's what they have done, but they and the politicians have just been found out.

    China Unicom have a 3G networks using W-CDMA / HSPA like most of the rest of the world, and the third carrier China Telecom have a 3G network using CDMA2000 like Verizon and Sprint in the US, KDDI in Japan and almost all of the rest of the world that does not use W-CDMA. These are real 3G networks (although coverage is variable depending on where you are in China) and they account for almost all of the actual 3G users in China. However, these companies are less politically favoured, have worse distribution, and as there is no number portability, existing customers cannot switch their service without changing their number.

    Also, in analysing these numbers, it is worth noting that the 152m figure was the number of supposed 3G customers of all three carriers. The 75, figure is a more accurate estimate of the number of 3G customers of all three carriers. The numbers for China Unicom and China Telecom are probably reasonable sound. In truth, the situation is likely that China Mobile claimed to have 75 million 3G customers and really has (as a first approximation) none.

  4. mhenriday

    «The Chinese government has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn

    after admitting that previously estimated figures for 3G subscriptions in the country were double what they should have been.» «[E]mbarassing», Phil ?Do you mean that the Chinese government will now withdraw all its representatives from international organisations, as they are so compromised that they don't dare show their faces ? The Marbridge Daily webpage to which you provide a link mentioned neither embarassment nor a u-turn, but simply stated that «Wei Leping ... said at the 2012 Broadband Communications and M2M Summit in Beijing this morning that Chinese 3G subscriber figures had been inflated, estimating that the true number was only half of what the MIIT has reported». But then, given your command of both Chinese culture and the Chinese language and your listening post in Hongkong, no doubt you possess other sources than Marbridge that were able to detail for you all those red-faced Chinese government making their u-turns. After all, you would never make up these details from whole cloth, now would you ?...


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