China Telecom is an integrated IT service company that provides mobile communications, broadband Internet connectivity, IT applications and fixed line telephone services to its customers in mainland China. As of now, it is the biggest fixed line telephone service, and 3rd biggest mobile communications provider in the country. In 2008, it had 216 million telephone customers, and 38 million broadband Internet subscribers in China.
China Telecom was established in May 2000. Formerly, it was a monopoly owned by the state, but now, it has been divided into autonomous provincial branches. Its assets in the 10 northern provinces of the country were given to China Netcom (now China Unicom) in 2002, after which China Telecom was left with 21 provinces of South China. While both the companies can compete all across China, Unicom is the major service provider in the north, while China Telecom dominates the south.