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March 11, 2010

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Consumers slow to pick up on 3G

CHINA'S 3G phone sales will grow steadily to reach almost 40 percent of total sales in 2013 because Chinese consumers need more time to become familiar with it and more aware of what a 3G service has to offer, according to a US-based IT research firm.

In 2013, sales of 3G mobile devices are expected to total almost 155 million units, compared to 35 million units in 2010, according to Gartner Inc.

Sales of 3G phones will account for 12.65 percent of total phone sales in China in 2010, compared with 40 percent in 2013, the research firm said.

"The launch of 3G in China in 2009 was hotly anticipated, with many people expecting sales of 3G devices to boom in the first two years, but they were too optimistic," said CK Lu, senior research analyst at Gartner.

"If we look at other Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, 3G sales took three to five years to reach 80 percent of total sales. We're going to see a similar pattern in China."

In January last year, China issued 3G licenses to three carriers. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom launched 3G services but 3G sales only accounted for 8.36 percent of their sales by the end of last year.

According to Gartner, Chinese consumers are not sure exactly what 3G can do other than offer video calls.

Nokia Corp, the world's No. 1 mobile phone maker, said it would continue to launch 2G phones in China, the world's biggest mobile phone market with more than 700 million mobile subscribers.

In the second half of 2010, Gartner expects to see carriers shift focus to 3G smartphones, with sophisticated operating systems offering a way to increase average revenue per user through value-added services such as search, navigation and music subscriptions.



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