The number of mobile phone users in China hit 431.8 million in July, the government said Wednesday, far and away the most of any single country in the world.
Chinese users continue to sign up for mobile phone service at a far faster pace than for fixed line service. The nation added 5.43 million new users in July, according to the Ministry of Information Industry. The figures also show that China continues to outpace India, which has claimed its mobile phone growth now matches China.
The number of mobile users in China is nearly double that of the U.S., which stood at an estimated 218.2 million as of Wednesday, according to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), an industry organization.
China’s monthly subscriber growth also beats India, another fast growing mobile market. India added 5.28 million new mobile phone users in July, increasing its total to 111.2 million, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The huge country also faces a similar situation as China in that mobile services are prompting people to eschew fixed line services. In July, the number of fixed line users in India actually declined by 60,000, the regulator said.
While the number of fixed line users continues to grow in China, mobile phones are more popular. China counted 366.6 million fixed line subscribers by the end of July, up by just over a million from the previous month. For every 100 people in China, 28 have a fixed line phone connection, while 32.7 subscribe to a mobile phone service, the ministry said.
The nation’s two largest mobile phone servicer providers are benefitting from the strong growth in Chinese mobile phone use.
China Mobile Communications, the world’s largest mobile network operator, has been adding 4.29 million new subscribers per month on average so far this year. The company boasted 278.3 million users at the end of July, and if it continues to grow so fast, it could reach 300 million by the end of this year.
China United Communications Corp., the only other authorized mobile phone service operator in China, said its GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) subscriber base grew to 101.4 million as of the end of July, while its CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network users reached 34.8 million.
A few other companies in China also offer PHS (Personal Handyphone System) mobile service.