China Mobile to Show up in Submarine Networks

In the recent 2011 China Communications Industry Development Forum held in Beijing on August 8, 2011, Mr. Lu Xiangdong, vice president of China Mobile Group said China Mobile should make every effort to participate in the construction of international submarine cable systems. As reported, China Mobile has joined the SJC consortium and the APG consortium to invest on the intra-Asia submarine cable systems, and also participated in the construction of the TSE-1 and the Xiamen-Jinmen submarine cables across the Taiwan Strait.

According to the 27th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China, China Mobile has an international internet bandwidth of less than 50G, while its two domestic competitors, China Telecom and China Unicom, have 660 Gbps and 357 Gbps respectively.

Regarding the overall capacity on international submarine cable systems, the gap is even bigger.

China Telecom owns two cable landing stations each in Chongming and Shantou and is the landing party for SEA-ME-WE 3 (SMW3), China-US Cable Network (CUCN), Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN-2), and Trans-Pacific Express (TPE ). China Unicom owns three cable landing stations, one in Qingdao and two in Nanhui, and is the landing party for EAC, C2C, TPE and FEA. China Telecom and China Unicom have both invested or participated in more than 20  international submarine cable systems, each owning submarine cable capacity of more than 1000 Gbps.

China Mobile has no submarine cable landing station, nor invested in any submarine cable systems.

According to Mr. Gao Junshi, the deputy director of the fixed network dept. of the Design Institute of China Mobile Group, an expert on submarine cable system design, China Mobile currently doesn’t own any international submarine cable resources, its existing submarine cable capacity of less than 50 Gbps is entirely leased from other providers. It costs China Unicom much more than its competitors to acquire international submarine cable capacity.

Compared with its leading position in China telecom industry, China Mobile falls much behind China Telecom and China Unicom in the global submarine networks. There is little voice from China Mobile on the construction or operation of submarine cable systems.

As forecasted, by the end of 2013, China Mobile has to add more than 300 Gbps international submarine cable capacity for its broadband business.

Besides participating in the undergoing SJC and APG intra-Asia submarine cable systems as well as the TSE-1 and the Xiamen-Jinmen submarine cable between Mainland China and Taiwan, China Mobile may acquire capacity or invest in other trans-pacific submarine cable systems. China Mobile is going to sound in global submarine networks.

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