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 Monday, 01 December 2008

In October 2008, for the first time in its history, the Chinese market reported a monthly decline in customer numbers. This was not the latest sign of global economic meltdown, but rather a consequence of China Telecom¡'s acquisition of China Unicom¡'s CDMA network. At the point of acquisition, Unicom counted 41.73m CDMA subscribers while Telecom reported 29.08m, the discrepancy being the result of differing counting methodologies: Telecom disregarded customers who had not paid their most recent bill or who it was not confident would continue to pay in the future. Only 6.8% of the total CDMA customer base were prepaid customers at the end of September, so the vast majority of uncounted customers were on contracts.

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The total Chinese customer base remained above 600m despite the inorganic loss effected by China Telecom¡'s recount. With a monthly decline of 4.92m, the number of mobile connections in China stood at 602.25m at the end of October.

Source: Cellular News.