21 million subscribers declined during Corona Pandemic in China

Rajat Taheem

April 18, 2020

The number of Chinese subscribers dropped by 21 million in the past few months, Beijing authorities announced. Is this related to Covid19 pandemic?

Chinese users cell phones for every practical use including dealing with services like pension, social security, train tickets, etc. Interestingly chinese government has made it impossible for users to cancel subscriptions.

The number of Chinese subscribers dropped by 21 million in the past few months, Beijing authorities announced. Is this related to Covid19 pandemic?

Chinese users cell phones for every practical use including dealing with services like pension, social security, train tickets, etc. Interestingly chinese government has made it impossible for users to cancel subscriptions. These cellphones are binded with SSN & bank accounts of users making it very easy for monitoring system to monitor subscribers. This even includes health information of each person linked to the cellphone.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) informed that the number of phone users declined drastically in Feb 2020 as compared to Feb 2019 while it increased previous year. The number of cellphone users decreased from 1.600957 billion to 1.579927 billion, a drop of 21.03 million. The number of landline users decreased from 190.83 million to 189.99 million, a drop of 840,000.

The decrease in number of subscribers can be linked to mandatory face detection for new subscriber base but that doesnt explain the drop in number of subscribers at level of 21 million. Also in Feb 2020 students started taking online courses & people started using mobile for work from home. This shouldnt explain drop in number of connections.

China Mobile is the largest carrier in China. It reported that it gained 3.732 million more accounts in December 2019, but lost 0.862 million in January 2020 and 7.254 million in February 2020. These numbers are alarming. China Unicom shares the same experience.

So is it possible to link this huge number of drop to number of deaths due to Corona Virus? This is still a question that has no real answer.


© 2020 by Rajat Taheem (taheemrajat).