The number of mobile phone users in China surpassed 700 million by the end of July, double the total population in the United States, as more people switched from fixed-line phones, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday.
The telecommunications revenue reached 477.49 billion yuan (US$69.9 billion) in the first seven months, a growth of 2.6 percent year on year, as broadband, mobile and related services income increased, the ministry said.
China added 61.40 million new handset users in the first seven months to total 703 million to rank as No. 1 in the world, the ministry said.
"The mobile phone user base will continue growing in China" because mobile phones are seen as substitutes for fixed-line phones and on demand for 3G, said Wu Wenzhao, a telecom analyst at Analysys International, a Beijing-based IT consulting firm.
The fixed-line phone user base, dropped by 12.41 million to 328 million in the period.
In January, China issued 3G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
At present, the 3G handset user base only accounts for about 1 percent of the total mobile phone users, which means a great potential for further development, analysts said.
About 40 percent of China Netizens, or more than 300 million, use mobile phones to surf online.
The 3G-related investment in China will hit 400 billion yuan within two or three years, the ministry said.
(Shanghai Daily September 4, 2009)