This paper forecasts 3G mobile subscription in mainland China while incorporating regional disparity. First, using stochastic frontier analysis, this paper tries to measure the relative market potential of 2G mobile service in 31 Chinese provinces. Second, this paper estimates diffusion parameters, including innovation coefficient, imitation coefficient and potential market size, of 31 provinces from 2G data. Then, this paper forecasts 3G mobile subscription using the original Bass model. In particular, this paper uses the market potential of each province in a modified Bass model in order to estimate the maximum level of 3G subscription. Finally, the paper presents meaningful implications for policy makers and mobile network operators in China. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.