The GSM Association has said it expects the world’s billionth GSM user to be connected during the first quarter of 2004. The trade organisation which represents GSM operators worldwide, said that there were 970 million users at the end of 2003, with an average of 15 million new subscribers being connected every month. During 2003 as a whole more than 180 million new users adopted the technology, representing around 80% of the estimated 227 million new mobile subscribers worldwide. The biggest growth came from the Asia-Pacific region, where 70 million customers signed up, with China’s GSM operators adding 42.8 million subscribers between them – 21% more than the global CDMA community managed in total. European GSM operators added 42 million new customers, with central and eastern European operators leading the way; the GSM Association’s Russian members added 16 million subscribers. India and North America each saw their GSM subscriber bases rise by around ten million, whilst growth in both Africa and the Arab States reached nine million.