China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest wireless-phone carrier by users, added a record 7.04 million subscribers last month after winning customers from fixed-line operators including China Telecom Corp.
The wireless carrier had a total of 376.4 million subscribers at the end of January, the Beijing-based company said on its Web site yesterday, Bloomberg News reported. China Telecom's number of phone users fell by 1.2 million to 219.1 million last month, the nation's largest fixed-line operator said in a separate statement.
China Mobile and its smaller rival China Unicom Ltd boosted user numbers by scrapping charges for receiving calls and expanding in smaller towns and villages, where fewer people have telecommunications services. China Telecom compensated for its loss of phone customers by boosting sales of broadband services.
"It's getting increasingly tough for fixed line operators to compete with the mobile carriers, and reorganization of the industry may help even out the playing field," Eric Wen, a Shanghai-based analyst at BNP Paribas said in a telephone interview.
The nation, the world's largest mobile-phone market by users, is expected to revamp its phone industry as it prepares to issue licenses for high-speed mobile services. The government has not provided a timetable for a reorganization.
China Telecom added 620,000 broadband Internet users last month, up from 600,000 in December.
(Shanghai Daily February 21, 2008)