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China Telecom says profit up 11.8 per cent as Internet, mobile data businesses grow

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BEIJING, China - China Telecom Ltd., one of the country's three main state-owned carriers, said Wednesday its profit rose 11.8 per cent in the first half of the year as its Internet and mobile data businesses grew.

The Beijing-based company earned 11.4 billion yuan ($1.9 billion), or 0.14 yuan (2 U.S. cents) per share, in the six months ended June 30. Revenue rose 5.3 per cent to 165.9 billion yuan ($27.2 billion).

Profits for China Telecom and its rivals, China Mobile Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd., have been squeezed by intense competition and the costs of rolling out fourth-generation service. Regulators rearranged the industry in 2008 to encourage competition and innovation by assigning each carrier mobile and fixed-line assets.

The companies are promoting mobile, Internet, online commerce and other value-added services as demand for traditional fixed line telephones declines.

China Telecom's number of mobile subscribers declined by 3 per cent in the first half to 180 million but mobile data usage rose 30 per cent. Revenue for the company's Internet data centres also rose 30 per cent.

China Mobile reported earlier its first half profit fell 8.5 per cent as the company spent heavily to roll out 4G service.

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