China cablecos' broadband revolution

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms and Media
23 Jul 2012

Let’s imagine you are a cashed-up investor looking to park your money someplace you can get a decent return. During your daily reading you read about a minor broadband operator that says it will quintuple its current market share over the next three years and reach 50 million subscribers by end-2015.

If you read that as an investor you would be straight on the phone to try and grab a piece of the action, more than likely fighting off competition from bankers lining up wanting to talk about future IPOs and private equity firms jostling to buy into this amazing operator.

Well, just this last week a minor broadband player did have those exact claims made on its behalf – and yet the likelihood is that only a very small number of people even read about it.

Why? Well the operator in question is China Radio and Television Network (CRTN), China’s soon to be established national cable operator, which is in the process of consolidating all of the country’s provincial and local cable operators under its single umbrella. Nothing flies under the radar better than the Chinese cable market.

The extraordinary claims about CRTN’s growth prospects came from the government as it announced details of its Broadband China Project via which it will award cable network operators fixed-line broadband operator licenses and provide subsidies to enable them to perform the network upgrades that will allow them to offer nationwide broadband services to subscribers.

As part of the announcement the government claimed that the Broadband China Project will allow the country’s cable operators to grab a 20% share of the broadband market by 2015 – which would mean a quintupling of their 3.9% share of the total 148 million subscriber broadband market at end-2011.

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