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|Wednesday, February 21, 2001, updated at 10:35(GMT+8)|
China Railway Telecom Set to FlyChina Railway Telecom, the country's second biggest fixed-line telecom network, will officially start independent operations on March 1, a company spokesman revealed Tuesday.
The Ministry of Railways, China Railway Telecom's parent organization, will hand all operation rights to the new company on February 28 at 6:00 pm.
At 8:00 am on March 1, China Railway Telecom will be completely separated from the railway sector and become an independent telecom operator, according to the spokesman, who wished to remain unnamed.
Officially established in late December last year, China Railway Telecom is the newest in a group of seven telecom operators currently vying for a share of the Chinese mainland market.
Among the seven, China Railway Telecom is widely regarded as the only one with the resources and ability to break the virtual fixed-line telecom monopoly currently enjoyed by China Telecom.
"We will provide a practical second choice for fixed-line telephone users," the spokesman said.
At present, China Railway Telecom, which has assets worth 13.6 billion yuan (US$1.64 billion), might be too small to really threaten China Telecom's position.
Peng Peng, president of China Railway Telecom, said he hoped the government could help the new company get on its feet by offering preferential policies.
In a recent national conference, Wu Jichuan, minister of the Information Industry, said the ministry would continue with its traditional management methods and allow minor telecom operators to enjoy preferential policies, including reduced price standards.
According to the China Railway Telecom spokesman, the fledgling firm will begin by offering basic telecom services like domestic long distance calls, local telephone calls, data transmission and Internet, but would have to wait before being able to offer mobile telecom and international long distance calls.
Once a division of the Ministry of Railways, China Railway Telecom controls a fixed-line network that follows the ministry's rail network and reaches nearly every corner of the country.
Headquartered in Beijing, China Railway Telecom has 29 branch companies in the country's four municipalities and 25 provincial capitals.
The total length of new company's network currently stands at 120,000 kilometres, including 40,000 kilometres of optic fibre lines. The network covers 500 large and medium-sized cities throughout China.
Source: China Daily
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