China is less than 50 million mobile subscribers away from reaching the one billion customer mark, statistics from the nation's three mobile operators show.
Combined subscriber numbers from China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom hit 951.6 million at end-October – up 1.3% month-on-month -, with the growth fuelled by demand for 3G services.
China Mobile accounted for the lion’s share of October increases, adding nearly 5.4 million subscribers to take its total user base to 638.9 million. While those numbers don’t break out 3G users, the operator’s quarterly results show it added 22.5 million 3G customers in the year to end-September, taking its total to 43.2 million.
China Unicom, meanwhile, ended October with 192.4 million subscribers in total, 33.1 million of which are 3G customers, while China Telecom ended the month with 120.3 million mobile subscribers, including 31.2 million 3G users.
Net 3G additions account for more than half (18.9 million) of China Telecom's 29.8 million mobile additions so far this year.