China Telecom on Tuesday reported a 96 per cent plunge in net profit for 2008 after it booked a Rmb24bn ($3.5bn) impairment charge related to its low-end wireless network, known as Xiaolingtong or "Little Smart".
But the Chinese telecoms group said it remained buoyant on this year's performance, adding that it hoped strong demand for phone services in China would offset the impact of the global economic downturn. China Telecom said it aimed to increase the number of mobile users from 30.63m as of last month to 100m by 2011. It said it hoped to attract more customers by bundling its traditional fixed-line operations with new 3G services.
For the 12 months to December 31, China Telecom reported a net profit of Rmb884m compared with Rmb24.2bn the year before, on operating revenues up 3.3 per cent at Rmb186.8bn.