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70% of S'poreans own cell phones

Singaporeans are taking to cell phones in record numbers, with 2.84 million subscribers in April. This represents 70 percent of the population.

SINGAPORE--Singaporeans are taking to cell phones in record numbers, with 2.84 million subscribers in April. This represents 70 percent of the population.

By contrast, the old-style mobile communications device, the pager, has seen subscriptions drop to just 668,000, from a high of 1.36 million in June 1998.

According to statistics released by the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), pager numbers are declining at a rate of 40,000 a month.

The shift toward cell phones is due to falling prices for handsets, said a report in The Straits Times.

However, the use of pagers is unlikely to fall to zero. "There will always be some diehard consumers who will prefer the pager," an unidentified industry player told the paper, citing students, insurance and housing agents, and salesmen as examples.

An analyst believed that the number of pagers should stabilize at between 400,000 and 500,000, with that figure being reached at the end of 2001.