China United Telecommunications (China Unicom) has unveiled detailed plans to capture more than 30 per cent of the mainland's fast-growing mobile-phone and Internet-related services markets in the next five years. Chairman and general manager Yang Xianzu also said the mainland's second-largest carrier had made substantial progress with about 40 foreign partners over mobile-phone joint ventures which had been declared 'irregular' by authorities. He said the company expected to complete the negotiations very soon. Investors who had agreed to terminate the joint ventures included Asian, American and European telecommunications and financial companies, he said, but he declined to give further details. Mr Yang outlined the carrier's next five-year plan, which would focus on the expansion of mobile-phone and data-communications services while selectively developing long-distance and local fixed-line operations. China Unicom's expansion plans have taken on a renewed urgency with the mainland expected to join the World Trade Organisation early next year. The entry would allow foreign investors to hold 50 per cent of stocks in telecoms companies and would require Beijing to phase out all geographic restrictions for mobile services in five years. By 2005, China Unicom plans to boost the capacity of its CDMA (code division multiple access) mobile-phone network to 60 million users, aiming to attract 45 million subscribers, with the network covering most of the country. It believes the capacity of its GSM (global system for mobile communications) network will by then reach 15 million users and attract 13 million subscribers, with the network covering prosperous eastern and middle parts of the country. Mr Yang said China Unicom would offer nationwide GSM roaming services by using the network of China Telecom, the mainland's largest carrier. 'By then, China Unicom will be able to capture a 30 per cent share in the mainland's mobile-phone market,' he said. China Telecom dominates the mainland's mobile-phone market, which is expected to have 43 million users, mainly using GSM technology, by the end of this year. Beijing has encouraged China Unicom to develop the CDMA network to become a credible competitor to China Telecom and to prepare for the onslaught of foreign operators. Earlier reports have indicated that China Unicom, which has only about four million mobile-phone subscribers to date, plans to complete the first phase of its CDMA network by the middle of next year, handling 2.6 million users. In addition to boosting its mobile-phone services, Mr Yang said China Unicom would expand its data communications operations. By 2005, it would aim to offer broadband Internet-related services to the cities and townships in the prosperous eastern region, selective cities in the middle areas and big cities in the less developed western region of the country. 'By then, we expect to sign up over eight million Internet protocol account users and account for 30 per cent of the market,' Mr Yang said. He did not disclose the amount of the money that China Unicom would spend to achieve its ambitious goals but earlier reports have indicated that the construction of the CDMA network would cost about seven billion yuan (HK$6.53 billion). Mr Yang said the company, which plans to list in Hong Kong and aims to raise up to US$3 billion, would seek strategic partnerships with foreign telecoms operators in the areas of management and technological exchanges. It would also try to break into the international telecoms market after the mainland joined the WTO.