China Telecom, China’s largest fixed-line phone provider, has announced plans to buy regional phone operator Beijing Telecom for $793m. The government-controlled former monopoly, which still owns about 70 per cent of China’s fixed telephone lines, has struggled to cope with a rapidly evolving market and competition from mobile phone operators. “Due to intensifying mobile substitution, China Telecom experienced negative growth in access lines in service for the first time [in 2007], and voice business revenue decreased by 7.9 per cent from 2006,” the company said in a statement. Charice Wang, an analyst at research firm Ovum, explained that China Telecom has been facing strong competition from China Mobile as customers switch to mobile services under increasing fixed-mobile substitution.
BY VERONICA S. CUSI, Businessworld THE PHILIPPINES was the second fastest-growing market for broadband worldwide in 2006, according to a study by UK-based research and consultancy firm Ovum. This was primarily due, however, to the fact that broadband is just taking off in the country, and Ovum said growth could be significantly higher if regulators allow more competition that would lead to cheaper services. Greece took the top spot in the study, and the other countries in the top ten list were Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Ireland, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia and Turkey. Total broadband growth in the Philippines from 2005 to 2006 was at 157% while Greece’s was 168%, Datamonitor affiliate Ovum said.