China Telecom, the fixed-line carrier for the south of China, said that its subscriber base grew by 17.3 per cent in 2002 to reach 56.9m at the end of the year and was expected to grow by 8m in 2003. About a fifth of this year's increase is expected to come from Xioalingtong, a low-end mobile phone service that piggybacks on the local fixed-line network. However, the company cautioned that although the Sars virus had not affected its business in the first quarter of 2003, it could do so later in the year.
The number of broadband subscribers rose by nearly 250 per cent to 1.38m with revenue rising by 75 per cent to Yn3.8bn. Total revenue for 2002 rose 10 per cent to Yn75.5bn. The net profit was Yn16.8bn, 13.4 per cent higher, after cutting costs, including reducing capital expenditure to Yn28.9bn from Yn40bn a year earlier.