It was just over 24 hours ago that we wrote the story that 21 million phones in China vanishing over coronavirus, but it seems the Associated Press noticed my story and 'fact checked' it.
The Associated Press has the "claim" of questioning the "Drop in cellphone users in China is proof that the coronavirus has killed 21 million in the country, far more than the official count". AP has their own "assessment" on this, where Arijeta Lajka writes: "False. The decline in cellphone users is not linked to the number of people who died after being infected with coronavirus. Major cellphone carriers in China attributed the drop to people with multiple phone numbers canceling some service during the outbreak".
AP talked with a representative of China Mobile, who said that the situation is indeed related to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was "not related to deaths, but changes in lifestyle". A China Mobile spokesperson said: "It was mainly due to reduced business and social activities resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Many customers in China have multiple SIM cards and it is common that they use their non-primary SIM cards to do these activities".
A China Unicom representative also noted the hard market over coronavirus, adding: "For the first two months of 2020, while facing challenges such as market saturation, keen market competition and the novel coronavirus outbreak, the company upheld self-discipline on rational and orderly competition".
Meanwwhile, China Telecom "did not respond to the AP at the time of publication".
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