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State-owned China Telecom profit up 17.9% in spite of competition, weak growth in subscribers

BEIJING--China Telecom Ltd., one of China's three major state-owned phone carriers, said Tuesday its latest quarterly profit rose 17.9 percent despite intense competition and weak growth in mobile subscriber numbers.

The Beijing-based carrier earned 5.5 billion yuan (US$915 million) in the three months ending March 31. Revenue rose 6.9 percent over a year earlier to 83.2 billion (US$13.9 billion) but costs also grew rapidly.

Network-related expenses rose 30.6 percent. The carrier's total number of mobile phone accounts rose by only 2.4 million during the quarter to 183.2 million, reflecting competition for new subscribers by China Mobile Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd.

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