Chinese operators lose 15m mobile subscribers in Covid19 pandemic

Published: 23 March 2020 - 8:30 a.m.

China’s mobile network operators have seen mobile subscriptions decline by around 15 million this quarter, as the country continues to reel from the impact of the Covid19 Coronavirus epidemic.

A report by Bloomberg claims that this represents the biggest quarterly decline in Chinese mobile subscribers, since records began in 2000.

China Mobile has revealed that it lost more than 8 million subscribers in Q1 2020, with China Telecom and China Unicom reporting losses of 5.6 million and 1.2 million users respectively

The Covid19 epidemic began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has now infected over 300,000 people across the globe, causing countries to implement unprecedented quarantine procedures. The virus has taken a significant toll on the Chinese economy as many of its industries have ground to a near halt.

The pandemic could not have come at a worse time for Chinese telcos, who were all in the process of rolling out their next generation 5G mobile networks on a colossal scale.

Shares in all three of China’s operators fell on the Honk Kong Stock Exchange, following news of the subscriber declines, with China Mobile’s stock sliding 2.1 per cent, China Telecom 4.5 per cent and China Unicom 3.9 per cent.

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