The reform of China's dominant fixed-line operator, China Telecom, has stalled due to bureaucratic delays, according to industry sources. The Ministry of Information Industry (MII), the telecoms regulator, has missed the February 12 deadline for splitting China Telecom, taking longer than expected to deal with administrative procedures. Minister of Information Industry Wu Jichuan had said the authority wanted the relaunch of two new fixed-line operators - China Telecom and China Netcom - before the Lunar New Year. Beijing plans to split China Telecom into northern and southern entities to increase competition in the country's telecoms sector. Under the restructuring plan, China Telecom's 10 northern provinces and cities would merge with China Netcom's and Jitong Communications' assets and be called China Netcom. China Telecom's assets in the south of the country would remain with the company. If things ran smoothly, the relaunch of the two new carriers was likely to be at the end of this month, or by early next month, sources said. Despite the delay in the official break up, the sources said the new management of the two companies was in place. To balance the interests of parties in the new China Netcom - which would include assets from China Telecom, China Netcom and Jitong - the MII has seconded Deputy Minister Xi Guohua to head the firm, according to sources. The MII also assigned its head of finance, Zhang Xiaotie, to join the senior management team of the new China Netcom as chief financial officer. A senior official from MII's personnel department also would join China Netcom's management team, a source said. Apart from the officials seconded by the MII, China Netcom's new management team would include China Telecom vice-president Leng Rongquan, China Netcom chief executive Edward Tian and Jitong president Qi Mingqiu. Sources said the new China Telecom senior management team would consist of existing China Telecom management, led by president Zhou Deqiang. The operator's management team included vice-president Chang Xiaobing, Wu Andi, Zhang Jiping and Huang Wenlin. As China Netcom was expected to take longer to integrate operations, a source said the firm was unlikely to seek a listing plan until at least well into next year. China's telecommunications sector had seen an overhaul after the Government announced last month it wanted to create four giant companies offering a full range of fixed-line and mobile services. The Hong Kong-listed China Mobile and China Unicom, and the two new companies, would be formed by splitting dominant fixed-line operator China Telecom. All four operators would have their licences extended to cover fixed-line, mobile, broadband and other basic services, in a move to encourage competition.