China's mobile phone subscriptions top a billion

Mar 30, 2012

China said Friday it had broken the barrier of one billion mobile phone accounts at the end of February, as more people in the world's most populous country ditch fixed phones.

The number of subscriptions grew 20.7 million in January and February to reach just over one billion, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said, up from 900.4 million in April last year.

In contrast, the number of fixed line subscriptions fell by 828,000 during that period to reach 284.3 million, the figures showed.

Mobile phone use has exploded in China in recent years as handset prices and user charges have dropped, while the continual arrival of new technologies on the market has spurred sales.

Of the more than one billion accounts, a total of 144 million used 3G technology -- nearly double the figure for April 2011.

However, the figures do not indicate how many there are in China, as companies and individuals may have two or more subscriptions each.

China also has the world's largest with more than half a billion , according to official figures.

Explore further: Why the SIM card has had its day

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