Gartner: China tops Asian list for cell phone use

The market potential of China's billion-plus population is beginning to become reality for cellular phone companies, according to a report by information industry research company Dataquest.

For the first time, China's 51.7 million cellular phone subscribers topped all other countries in the Asia-Pacific region during the first quarter of 2000, according to Dataquest, a unit of Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Group Japan, the former regional leader, fell to second place with 51.1 million cell phone subscribers. First quarter cell phone subscriptions in the Asia-Pacific region grew 47 percent over the same quarter last year, reaching 170.7 million.

Prepaid cellular phone services boosted market growth, particularly in the Philippines and China, Dataquest's market researchers said. Twelve million customers in the region used prepaid services, with China posting 1.3 million new users for the fastest growth of prepaid service.

Dataquest ascribed China's cellular phone market growth to increased competition, specifically between China Mobile Communications Corp. (China Mobile) spun off from the country's incumbent carrier China Telecom Ltd. earlier this year to increase competition and existing cellular carrier China United Communications Co. (China Unicom).

Dataquest, in San Jose, California, can be reached at +1-408-468-8009 or on the Web at http://www.dataquest.com/.

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