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|Monday, August 13, 2001, updated at 20:52(GMT+8)|
Railcom is Calling, FinallyChina Railcom, the country's second biggest fixed-line telecom carrier, has started operation in 14 provinces and municipalities after signing agreements with China Telecom local branches.
This new fixed-line operator scheduled to start nationwide operation in July, but the negotiation for network interconnection with the China Telecom delayed Railcom's operation.
The agreement between China Telecom and China Railcom was inked in June, which guarantees network connection between the two carriers.
But deal with China Telecom does not mean deals with its 31 local branches, China Railcom has to negotiate with every branch of China Telecom for operation in that province.
Beijing and Shanghai are not included in the first batch of 14 provinces, which includes Guangdong, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hunan.
Guangdong Railcom is the first one to start operation. It started to provide fixed-line telecom service on June 28.
China Railcom would push forward the negotiations with the resting provinces to try to start nationwide operation before the end of August, said Dong Binfeng, spokesman of the company.
Interconnection is also the hardest step to break the monopoly in China's fixed-line telecom business.
That is why the negotiation between China Railcom and China Telecom is so hard and lasted months, said the spokesman.
China Railcom has recently set its target for the year -- 12 million customers. It plans to control 5-10 per cent of the fixed-line telephone market within three years, according to the company.
Under the preferential policies granted to Railcom by the Ministry of Information Industry, China Railcom's charge for long distance calls would be 10 per cent lower than China Telecom and 10-15 per cent cheaper for local calls.
China Railcom, because of its connections with the country's railway communications industry, will target customers of the railway sector, said the spokesman.
The State Council has decided to further reform the country's telecom sector to ensure a fair competition and high efficient marketplace.
Source: China Daily
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