China Mobile is being hit by slowing customer growth, with the bulk of new additions coming from the less lucrative pre-paid sector. China’s largest cellular operator added just under 3.28 million new subscribers in June, down from the 3.4 million it added the previous month. 3.15 million of the new additions were pre-paid users, while the number of contract subscriptions grew by just 125,000. China Mobile had 163.149 million pre-paid users and 60.632 million contract subscribers at the end of June.
The country’s other mobile service provider, China Unicom, is due to announce its own end-June customer numbers later today. Unicom recently announced that it had reduced its handset subsidies in the first quarter of the year to KKD1.1 billion from HKD2.7 billion in the last three months of 2004. The firm says the cut in subsidies is part of a plan to lower costs.