A billion mobile phones in China; 3G penetration low

Even though China reached a milestone in February, the 3G penetration rate is still low.

Beijing: Even though China reached a milestone in February when the number of mobile phone users in the country surpassed one billion, the 3G penetration rate is still low at 14 percent, a report said.

In the first two months of this year, China added 21 million new phone users to create a total of 1.01 billion customers, according to the ministry of industry and information technology.

The user base is double the combined population of the US and Japan, the China Daily reported.

The mobile penetration rate of China, now at 73.6 percent, is still lower than that of the West, where it reaches over 90 percent or even above 100 percent, meaning some people have two or more phones, the ministry said.

During January and February, China added 25 million new 3G users to reach a total of 143 million, or 14.3 percent of all mobile phone users. However, it is much lower than that of Western countries that have a penetration rate of 70 to 80 percent, the ministry said.