For the first time after a decade of growth, the Chinese giants actually lost fixed broadband subscribers in December. China Mobile lost 609,000 to 187,041.000 after adding more than 2 million a month earlier in the year. China Telecom dropped 620,000 to 153,130,000. China Unicom. Nearly a million turned off China Unicom, leaving 83,478,000. As recently as September, China added over 5 million. In December, the number fell by 2 million.
China's economy is growing by more than 5%, slower than before but still faster than any western country. Prices are flat or falling under a government mandate. There is no obvious explanation.
Could this be the first sign of the long-expected switch from landline to mobile broadband? I've been looking for reduced growth and then a decline since 2011. China added 5 million 5G users in both November and December. The price for 30 gigabytes is $18/month, often discounted to as low as $12. However, the price goes up rapidly and would be high for typical users of over 100 gigabytes/month.
One month does not make a trend. The companies many have cut promotions as 5G costs became important. They could have tightened payment terms to improve cash flow.
Or this may be an early sign of a switch to mobile broadband.