Caixin
Nov 25, 2017 08:28 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

China Mobile to Invest Two Billion Yuan on IoT Services in 2018

China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers, said it will roll out a 2-billion-yuan ($303 million) subsidy program next year for customers who purchase its Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

China Mobile aims to increase its share in the fast-growing IoT market through the ambitious subsidy plan, general manager of China Mobile, Li Yue, said on Friday.

So far, about 200 million IoT devices are connected to China Mobile’s service platform, higher than that of rivals China Unicom and China Telecom, according to Li. The company expects the number to grow by 120 million by the end of 2018.

IoT technology, which is mainly based on sensor systems and allows devices to communicate with each other and be remotely controlled via the Internet, has been used in various areas including manufacturing, smart homes and security monitoring services.

Growth in the IoT market is expected to speed up with the development of fifth-generation (5G) networks that can transmit large volumes of data cheaply, and the three wireless service providers in China are investing more on IoT chips and modules.

China Mobile’s subsidy plan aims to promote the use of its wireless modules, which are a key part of the IoT infrastructure, by lowering the entry barriers and cost for industrial customers, said Li.

Widening the consumer base for IoT services will help telecom operators diversify their revenue streams. For example, China Telecom charges customers 20 yuan per year for each device using its IoT services. For high-frequency devices that are controlled through the internet more than 55 times a day, an extra 20 yuan is charged per device.

Revenue from IoT services in China has reached 750 billion yuan by the end of 2015, and this figure is expected to double by 2020, according to a report released early this year by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), China’s telecoms regulator.

The report points out that China's IoT technologies related to chips, sensors and operating systems still lagged behind developed countries, though the industry’s network and application services have improved.

Contact reporter Lin Jinbing (jinbinglin@caixin.com)


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