China's top wireless carrier reports record user gain

China Mobile igned up a record number of users in a single month in January, as the world's top cellular carrier built on its dominance in the world's largest wireless market, a Reuters report said.

But its shares slid 2.3% as investors, who had piled into telecoms operators such as China Telecom as speculation mounted that Beijing was close to deciding on a long-awaited reshuffle of the industry, cashed in their gains amid a broad market sell-off, the Reuters report said.

China Mobile, which has steadily devoured market share from its sole, smaller rival, China Unicom , for years, signed up 7.044 million subscribers last month, outpacing Unicom's relatively paltry 1 million-plus, the report added.

JP Morgan said that China Mobile could potentially exceed the US investment bank's own prediction of about 6 million in average monthly subscriber additions for the firm in 2008, given a sterling January performance, the Reuters report further said.

China Mobile now serves 376.38 million users, more than the population of the US, the report said.