3G phone users keep increasing

13:18, July 15, 2010      

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The number of 3G phone users on the Chinese mainland reached nearly 22 million by the end of May and new 3G users accounted for a quarter of the total number of new mobile phone users, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday.

The mainland is expected to boast 60 million 3G users by the end of this year, a fourfold increase from last year's level, according to the ministry's earlier forecast.

The popularity of 3G is set to grow due to lower prices and a bigger variety of 3G models, including iPhones equipped with Wi-Fi and BlackBerry that comes with the home-developed 3G standard.

By May 31, the 3G user base totaled 21.9 million, up 8.64 million from the end of 2009. But the 3G user base still accounted for a small portion of the total mobile phone user base of more than 790 million.

In May alone, the number of new 3G phone users reached 2.23 million, 24.4 percent of the total number of cell phone users in the month, the ministry said.

China Mobile, the world's No. 1 operator, led the 3G market with 9.32 million 3G users by the end of May, followed by China Unicom's 5.85 million and China Telecom's 2.32 million, according to the ministry.

The telcos said recently it would launch more 3G models for entry-level users that is expected to cost less than 1,000 yuan (US$147) each.

Canada-based Research In Motion is testing with China Mobile to launch 3G BlackBerry models based on China-developed TD-SCDMA. Meanwhile, RIM and China Telecom will launch Blackberry Storm 9530, the first 3G Blackberry device in China, later this month, which adopts the United States-developed CDMA 2000 technology.

China Unicom, which introduced the iPhone in the domestic market in October, is talking with Apple to launch new iPhones with Wi-Fi function.

Source: Shanghai Daily


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