China Telecom profit up 17.9 percent
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China Telecom profit up 17.9 percent

BEIJING (AP) — China Telecom Ltd., one of China’s three major state-owned phone carriers, says its latest quarterly profit rose 17.9 percent despite intense competition and weak growth in its mobile phone unit.

The Beijing-based carrier said Tuesday it earned 5.5 billion yuan ($915 million) in the three months ending March 31. Revenue rose 6.9 percent over a year earlier to 83.2 billion ($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.

China Telecom cited intense competition as Chinese carriers spend heavily to expand service and roll out fourth-generation technology.