Do you know which is the biggest cell phone carrier in the world?

Do you know which is the biggest cell phone carrier in the world?
You know, the mobile industry is full of wonderful and peculiar things. Being the cell phone maniacs that we are, we know most of them, but we guess there are still some things that might have remained unnoticed by some of us. In this post from the 'Awesome cell phone facts' series, we'll discuss the biggest mobile carrier in the world!

What's so interesting about that? Well, guess what - the biggest carrier in the world is neither AT&T Mobility, nor Verizon Wireless. So, who has the largest number of subscribers?

The biggest mobile carrier in the world comes from the distant land of China, and is called China Mobile! China Mobile serves the spectacular number of 703.46 million customers (data from November 2012) - more than twice the population of the Unites States. Isn't that amazing? The world's largest mobile carrier is owned by the state of China, and as such is controlled by the Chinese government. China Mobile is created at the end of the 20th century, when it gets separated from the currently third-biggest operator in the country - China Telecom, which is also state-owned.

But if China Mobile is the biggest, and China Telecom is the third-biggest carrier in the People's Republic of China, then who is in the middle? The answer is China Unicom - yet another state-owned carrier.

So where do our well-known US carriers fit into the whole picture? Right now, the biggest US carrier, Verizon Wireless, is 19th in the global carrier rank-list by number of subscribers (108.7 million), while AT&T Mobility is 21st with 107 million. Unfortunately, both Sprint and T-Mobile USA are not in the top 30 of the global rank-list, signaling that the attempted merger between AT&T and T-Mobile may have indeed been a bad idea!

You can access a fuller list of the world's biggest mobile carriers here.

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17 Comments

1. GALAXY-STORM

Posts: 328; Member since: Oct 13, 2012

Yes and 3rd or 4th place is owned by Airtel

16. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Biggest carrier of india is airtel for sure.... bsnl had a big chance....but they missed it...

2. Conan_Kudo

Posts: 19; Member since: Dec 21, 2011

Oi! T-Mobile USA's subscribers are consolidated with the rest of the Deutsche Telekom's mobile subscribers. As of November 2012, T-Mobile had 128.522 million subscribers, which puts them just below Reliance Communications in India, making them number 16 in the top 20.

6. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Isn't Verizon owned by Vodafone? Sprint by Softbank?

7. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 587; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

The sprint soft bank deal never fell thru... Did it

9. caustictoast

Posts: 31; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

No Vodafone was bought down to 45% a while ago giving Verizon Communications (the parent of Verizon Wireless) control. The Softbank deal didn't go through yet so Sprint is still doing its own thing for the time being

3. jed27

Posts: 65; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

See, US=/=world.

4. imsickwithsmartphone

Posts: 153; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

State-owned vs private

8. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

I mean I understand this but is this a surprise considering that we only have 300+ in the US. I mean when you think about it, none of the top tier carriers here will ever amount to more than that unless 7G comes out when it can connect internationally. Till then, 300+ is the limit. In China, the limit is like over a billion.

10. techtor

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 13, 2013

Vodafone 2nd highest :D

11. idroidequis

Posts: 103; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

Well the upside to living state side is that we get most of the flagships months before other contries so I cant complain.

12. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

no real shock... US carriers only cover the US 300 million people divided up by AT&T Sprint Tmobile verizon and others

13. BaiGanyo

Posts: 308; Member since: Feb 07, 2011

Americans are jumping to make excuses why they don't rank. The population of your country does not limit their size. Many' many carriers operate in lots of countries, like vodafone. Your companies just aren't very good.

14. pokerc

Posts: 60; Member since: May 24, 2012

I don't think us Americans really care who's the biggest

15. jaabubut

Posts: 13; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

Axiata group berhad ....

17. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

my parents use china mobile

18. skaaatt

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 11, 2014

I wouldn't listen to these guys. They are completely wrong on a lot of info. Tmobile is the 17th largest provider in the world at 128 mil customers verison has only 100 mil and at&t even less so it sux for at&t that the merger didn't happen

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