Cellular operator SmarTone is understood to be close to buying a personal communications service (PCS) mobile network, with an announcement expected in the next few days. According to sources, negotiations over a potential purchase have intensified over the past week and talks have been held with more than one potential target. Jardine Fleming is understood to be advising the company. Stated acquisition targets are People's Telephone, controlled by China Resources, P-Plus, controlled by China Strategic Holdings and the Sunday Service, controlled by a consortium including Lai Sun Development, USI/Wing Tai and Distacom Communications. While there are several potential sellers, SmarTone is seen as the only clear buyer in the market, with about $2 billion in cash to spend. The company has said for some time that it wants to secure PCS spectrum and that it was simply a matter of when. It is understood SmarTone believes the prices being asked for the networks have now fallen to what it thinks are realistic levels. Analysts said the company was now probably playing companies off against one another. The Hong Kong cellular market is arguably the most competitive in the world, with seven operators and eleven networks. Consolidation has long been expected. SmarTone releases its interim results today - although it is believed unlikely that a purchase announcement will be released at the same time.