China Telecom Corporation Limited (China Telecom) is a state-owned telecommunications company. In addition to providing local fixed-line telephone services to residential and business customers in 20 Chinese provinces, the company offers domestic and international long distance telephone services Internet and managed data value-added services leased line and limited mobility wireless services. It is one of the largest phone companies in China (and the world), with 220 million access lines in service and 36 million broadband users as of December 31, 2007. The company generates the bulk of its revenue from local phone, domestic long distance, and international long distance services. Additionally, it derives revenue from data and Internet services, value-added services, and interconnection fees paid by other phone companies. In 2006, revenues from local telephone (local access and telephony) contributed 46% of the total revenues while long distance (DLD, IDD) contributed 25%. Among all the segments, Internet and value-added services increased the fastest, contributing 29% of the total revenues in 2006, up from 16.4% in 2005.
China Telecom announced disappointing results for the first three quarters of 2007, compared with Chinese mobile operators. However, China Telecom is the market leader in fixed-line phone services in one of the world's fastest growing telecom markets. Its attractive long-term prospects arise from growth in broadband, value-added services, and potential 3G services. Although the number its fixed-line users declined in the third quarter, its revenue increased 2.7% due to the expansion of its broadband business and value-added services. Moreover, China Telecom is expected to be the big winner when Chinese government issues 3G licenses. Thus, we maintain our Hold rating on the stock.