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China Telecom Customer Base Shrinks as 4G Lures Customers to Rival Network

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China Telecom has posted its first decline in mobile subscribers since 2008, as customers migrate to China Mobile's 4G service.

According to statistics from the big three mobile networks, the country saw its mobile phone user base grow by just under 7 million in January, taking their combined total to 881.9 million.

Of that, just under 206 million were using China Mobile's home-grown 3G network. The company added 14.24 million new 3G customers, although its GSM base shrank by 9.6 million at the same time.

China Mobile picked up two thirds of all new subscribers during the month.

China Unicom saw its net customer base grow by 3.12 million to 284.11 million. Of that, 284 million are WCDMA based 3G customers, and 157.6 million are on its GSM network.

China Telecom however, saw its customer base shrink, although only by 800,000 to 184.8 million. Of that, some 103 million are on its EV-DO based 3G network and the remainder on its CDMA service.

China Telecom is expected to see that reverse though, as it has also launched its own 4G service now, although only for USB modem users. A smartphone launch is due later.

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