China Telecom profits down by 96%

25 March 2009

BEIJING: China Telecom, one of the country's premier telecommunications companies, saw its profits fall by 96.3% to 884 million yuan ($129m; €96m; £88m) last year after planning for a 24 billion yuan impairment charge related to the loss of one of its networks.

While the company's operating revenues rose by 3.3% to 186.8 billion yuan in 2008, its net profits fell from 24.2 billion yuan in 2007 based on the impairment charge related to its wireless "Little Smart" network.

It also registered a loss of 16.4 billion yuan in the final quarter of last year as it took large provisions in anticipation of shutting down its PHS mobile network, which only offered the "same functions" as a fixed-line phone.

While China Telecom used PHS and "Little Smart" to increase its presence in the country's mobile market, it received one of three 3G licences from the Chinese government last year, and has made rapid in-roads in modernising its infrastructure.

As such, its older networks are becoming obsolete, but its third-generation services are argued to be more advanced than those of the dominant player in the country's mobile market, China Mobile.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff