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Asia300

Top Chinese telecoms slash overall investment to 6-year low

Premier Li's call to slash data charges will likely delay 5G kickoff until 2020

China Mobile aims to trim capital investment by 6.4% to 166.1 billion yuan in 2018.   © Reuters

BEIJING/HONG KONG -- China's three publicly traded mobile carriers are committing less than 300 billion yuan ($47.7 billion) combined for investment in 2018, sinking to their lowest in six years in reaction to mandated discounts on wireless fees.

China Telecom will shrink capital expenditures by 15.5% to 75 billion yuan, the company said Wednesday in Hong Kong. Chairman and CEO Yang Jie said the money will go mainly toward improving existing fourth-generation networks, expanding fiber-optic broadband capacity and enhancing platforms for new businesses such as cloud services, big data and the "internet of things."

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