Mobile shops have surged by 12.5% to 4,329, from 3,847 the previous year, according to figures from The Local Data Company.
Orange expanded its retail units by 37.5%, growing from 306 last year to 407 units at the start of April 2010, as an aggressive concession strategy saw it partner with Asda and HMV last year.
Carphone continues to dominate with 812 stores nationally, with a slight increase in stores over 2009.
The increase in numbers has been modest in London and the Midlands, but well above average in Scotland (17%) the North West (20%), the East of England (19%) and Wales (51%).
Central London boasts 216 stores, while Leeds (43), Glasgow (49), Bristol (44) and Manchester (67) all have quite similar volumes.
Unlike other retail sectors, independents struggle for market share and only one in five shops nationally is not owned by a major chain., the company said.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at The Local Data Company, said: 'Independents often suffer most from the intense web-based competition and we estimate that many operate brand franchises rather than set up under their own name.
‘But there is also an extent to which independents and multiples offer different products. Chains dominate with contract phones and independents thrive off pay as you go phones and other services, like unlocking and repairs.’
Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said:‘In some areas, it’s fair to say that people think phone shops are like pound stores in that they’re a bit of a plague. They do increase footfall in high streets, but for many other retailers it’s the wrong kind as many kids who go to play with new phones often won’t be buying much.
‘But there is no denying that the continued success is down to our obsession with shopping, speaking and even share dealing on the move. Every time you think phones have reached their technological peak, something new comes along. The challenge with phone shops will be to do the same and to keep evolving if they are to keep consumers interest.’