China Unicom

Mainland subscriber growth falls

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 August, 2004, 12:00am

Tariff controls imposed by the mainland's telecommunications regulator have helped ease price competition in the mobile sector, but subscriber growth continues to slow.

China Mobile and China Unicom signed up 4.61 million new users last month - sharply lower than the monthly average of five million for this year - bringing their combined total to 292.58 million users at the end of last month. The slowing subscriber growth came after the Ministry of Information Industry limited the freedom of operators to undercut each other's prices from July 1.

The ministry specifically prohibited market leader China Mobile from pricing its services below those of rival Unicom.

Excluding inherited subscribers from the 10 provincial networks it acquired from its parent firm last month, China Mobile added only 2.6 million new users - the lowest in 12 months - bringing its subscriber base to 188.35 million.

Unicom benefited little from the new rules, however, adding just 720,000 users to its two networks last month, its lowest growth rate since August last year and 2 per cent fewer than it managed to add in June.