100 Million LTE Phones Shipped in China in Q3 2015

China has become the most important mobile market for any player in the mobile value chain. The enormous scale China brings to the fore is unparalleled. China exactly two years ago clocked 100 million smartphone shipments for the first time and in Q3 2015,China became the first country to witness more than 100 million 4G LTE smartphones being sold as the China LTE in just a single quarter growing more than 200% annually according to the latest research from our Market Monitor service. This has helped global LTE shipments contribute to more than 2/3rd of the smartphone shipments during the quarter.

This has been primarily driven by  meteoric rise in consumers adopting LTE technology as the always-on high speed mobile internet becomes the crux of Chinese consumers’ lives aided by competitive pricing by China Mobile. More than 200 million 4G LTE subscribers have been added at the end of Q3 2015 compared to exactly a year ago. China LTE subscriber base also crossed 300 million users during the quarter. It took just 20 months to cross 300M 4G subs whereas 3G subs it took more than 50 months.

Mature Chinese smartphone user base are upgrading their digital lives faster than any other mobile user on this planet. The growing traction of mobile-centric commerce, rise of O2O services, content consumption (video, audio and so forth) coupled with deeply integrated social and messaging communication is making  high quality ubiquitous mobile internet a basic need for the Chinese consumers.

Huawei was the no 1 LTE phone supplier with slightly less than one-fifth of the market, followed by Xiaomi, Apple, Oppo and Vivo. We are seeing more and more models being rolled out in sub-1000 yuan price segment driving the overall growth. For e.g. Xiaomi Redmi 2 was the best LTE smartphone in sub-US$100 price segment

Exhbit 1: China LTE Subs addition vs LTE Smartphone Shipments Trends

LTE Trends China Q3 2015


Exhbit 2: Race to 300 Million Subs – Time Take 3G vs 4G


China LTE Subs Growth 300M users


The detailed report on LTE smartphone shipments trends from our Market Monitor service is available for Counterpoint clients and can be downloaded here