Customer additions slow in April

20 May 2005

Subscriber growth slowed at both of China’s cellular operators in April. The largest player, China Mobile, added 3.232 million net new customers in April compared to 3.251 million in March. Over 96% of its new customers opted for pre-paid packages, with just 128,000 choosing monthly contracts. The company had 217.106 million subscribers at the end of April, up from 204.292 million at the start of the year, of which 72% were pre-paid customers. At China Unicom, meanwhile, subscriber additions fell from 1.48 million in March to 1.38 million last month. 883,000 customers signed up for its GSM network in April while 496,000 joined its CDMA service. At the end of April Unicom had 87.87 million GSM subscribers and 29.93 million CDMA users. It has had more success than China Mobile in persuading users to sign up for post-paid deals; 66% of new users in April chose monthly contracts, with pre-paid packages accounting for just 38.7% of its total subscriptions. There were just under 335 million mobile subscribers in China at the end of April, up from 316.3 million at the start of the year.

China, China Mobile, China Unicom