China Telecom said Wednesday it was in talks with five overseas telecoms groups interested in taking strategic stakes, the Financial Times reported. The country's largest fixed-line operator is the only big-four telecoms operator on the mainland that has not teamed up with a foreign company. But Wang Xiaochu, chairman and chief executive, said the company would not pick a partner until it was granted a 3G mobile license. The announcement came as the company reported a 3.8% drop in second-quarter net profit to US$713.6 million from US$742.5 million in the three months ended March. The company's fixed line business is being undermined by the popularity of mobile phones, which China Telecom is not allowed to offer. Local voice revenue, which contributed 47.1% of sales, dropped about 2.5% in the first six months. However, broadband revenue rose 35% in the same period as the number of subscribers climbed 45.5% from 17.37 million to 25.26 million.