China Mobile, the world's largest mobile phone service provider, has nearly covered China's vast population with its mobile phone network, its top executive said Tuesday.
"Even remote areas not connected to the power grid nor transportation networks are covered," said Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile's chairman and CEO, at the ITU Telecom Asia 2008 exhibition in Bangkok.
He said China Mobile's network now covers 97 percent of China's population.
China Mobile's mobile phone subscriptions are growing at a rate of about 7 million per month, in large part due to uptake in rural areas, said Wang.
The company boasted over 420 million mobile phone subscribers as of the end of July. There were 608.4 million mobile phone subscribers in China as of the same time, according to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
China Mobile's network is based on GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) technology, with data transmission over GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution).
This year, the company started offering 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications) services using China's home grown TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) technology on a trial basis.
China Mobile built networks in 10 cities, including those hosting Olympic Games events last month, and plans to roll out the network to 28 more cities in China, Wang said.
He did not provide a time frame for expanding the 3G network.