China Telecom holds talks with parent over mobile units

Market leader China Telecom is negotiating to acquire seven mobile telephone networks from its parent, as domestic competition heats up and foreign operators prepare to enter after China''s WTO debut.

China Telecom Hong Kong Limited says it is in talks to acquire seven mobile phone companies from its parent, China Mobile Communications. The move would boost its subscriber base by 56% to at least 32 million and increase its attractiveness to potential partners once China enters the World Trade Organization.

China's biggest telecommunications company plans to acquire mobile phone companies in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong and Guangxi. China Telecom says it has not settled on a price, but aims to complete the transaction by October or November. It may issue shares to the parent, which owns 75% of the company, and also tap the public equity and debt markets.

Analysts estimate...

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