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UK shares soar as Brits go mobile-mad

Two million buy the gadgets

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Mobile phone shares soared yesterday on reports that almost two million Brits flocked to buy the gadgets in the past three months. Vodafone, Cellnet, Orange and One2One all saw a healthy rise in share price following the news that around 1.9 million subscribers had signed up for mobiles from January to March. The figures, which beat analysts' expectations, were largely due to the success of pre-paid phones. Analysts estimated that over a quarter of the population now used mobiles. Vodafone shares rose from £11.82 to £12.07 yesterday. It added 700,000 customers in the quarter, making its total 5.57 million. Cellnet added 479,000 subscriptions, totalling 4.52 million. Shares in BT, which has a majority stake in Cellnet, rose from £10.28 to £10.89. Orange shares rose from £8.94 to £9.27. It added 370,000 customers in the quarter, bringing the number to 2.53 million. One2One stayed in fourth position, with 329,000 new subscribers, making a total of 2.25 million users. The UK now has almost £15 million mobile phone users following the industry’s normally quiet post-Christmas trading period. Most of the new subscribers chose "pre-paid" services, paying neither contract nor line rental. ®

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