First-quarter sales of mobile telecommunications have outweighed traditional fixed-line sales, underlining the rapid growth of the industry. Sales rocketed 81.3 per cent to 52.21 billion yuan (about HK$48.86 billion), according to Shanghai Securities News. About 42.14 billion yuan of revenue was recorded for fixed-line telecoms business in the first quarter, with local calls generating a year-on-year 26.7 per cent growth to 20.81 billion yuan, or nearly half of the fixed-line total. Revenue from domestic direct dial reached 17.27 billion yuan, while international phone calls contributed just 4.06 billion yuan in the first quarter. Paging saw 30.4 per cent growth to 3.35 billion yuan, while data communications grew 49.6 per cent to 1.31 billion yuan. Mobile-phone users are expected to soar to more than 70 million by the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Information Industry. At the end of March, the mainland had more than 50 million mobile-phone users. During the past three years, cellular subscribers' growth rose at an annual rate of 77.6 per cent. Despite rapid growth, the cellular penetration rate on the mainland was just 3.4 per cent at the end of last year, low compared with other Asian countries. The rising migration of voice and data traffic from fixed line to wireless networks is a big boost to mobile-phone services. Also helping the migration is the increasing popularity due to improving wireless network quality, reductions in wireless service tariffs and the availability of the wireless data technologies. Separately, Ericsson said its Nanjing joint venture won a US$86 million GSM order from the mainland's Guangxi Mobile Communications.