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China's 4G penetration rate forecast to soar to 67%

TAIPEI--The market penetration rate of fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband smartphones in China is expected to grow significantly this year, a local research firm said Tuesday.

In a research note, TrendForce (集邦科技) predicted that the penetration rate of 4G smartphones in China will rise from 24.6 percent to 67 percent by the end of this year, as Chinese telecom carriers invest in building 4G Long-Term Evolution network infrastructure and expanding coverage.

In addition, the release of the new iPhone “will definitely be a strong driver,” the research firm said.

Although Chinese mobile carriers have recently shifted their spending priority from subsidies on 4G smartphones to 4G network building, the situation could change again with the release of the new iPhone, TrendForce contended.

It said the iPhone is expected to bring “huge profits,” thus convincing carriers to step up subsidies on 4G devices, according to TrendForce.

Another market research company, Digitimes Research (電子時報), said vendors and telecom operators in China have actually increased subsidies for 4G smartphones since June to boost the number of new 4G network users in the country.

There were only 8 million new 4G users in the first five months of the year, far lower than expected, the research institute said.

U.S.-based industry analyst firm IHS Technology held a similar view, predicting a growing 4G handset market in China.

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