The four fixed-line competitors waging a fierce battle against PCCW are claiming to have a market share of almost 19 per cent - up from 11 per cent at the start of the year. According to figures Business Post obtained from the operators, they now manage 724,000 lines in total, or about 66 per cent more than they had in January. The scramble to win market share from former monopoly PCCW, which still had about 89 per cent of the local fixed-line market as of last year, is expected to take its toll on PCCW's bottom line when it unveils interim results today. 'Over the past years we have been establishing a solid base for market development, we see ourselves as a serious challenger to PCCW in all dimensions,' said Tony Cheung Tung-lan, vice-president of Wharf New T&T. The Wharf fixed-line unit said it had 280,000 lines, 16 per cent more than at the start of this year. Wharf New T&T, whose business clients account for 75 per cent of its total customers, is the only profitable operator among PCCW's rivals. In the past eight months, Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) has quietly emerged as the No 2 operator, claiming 320,000 fixed lines, representing 33 per cent growth this year. 'Our growth has picked up fast. That shows our investment in our network has begun to pay off,' HGC spokesman Sally Tsang said. HGC claims to have invested more than HK$10 billion in its local network, which has 350,000km of core fibre-optic network. The Hutchison Whampoa fixed-line unit is less reliant than the other fixed-line operators on PCCW's network. It claims that 88 per cent of its lines in operation are from its own network, up from 75 per cent last year. Sixty per cent of its clients are business customers, with many of its residential users living in properties developed by its ultimate parent Cheung Kong (Holdings). HGC changed its name last month after parent Hutchison Whampoa bought back a 50 per cent stake from Asia Global Crossing in April. The company with the highest percentage growth in lines this year is New World Telephone, which reported a 66 per cent boost to 100,000 lines at the end of June. City Telecom, which had its official launch in June, has 24,000 lines. PCCW's rivals claim to have a total of about 724,000 lines, or about 18.67 per cent of Hong Kong's total lines. According to statistics released by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, there were 3.87 million lines at the end of June, or 1.26 per cent less than the 3.92 million lines at the start of the year. Business lines totalled 1.74 million, while there were 2.13 million residential lines. Competitors will keep a close eye today on how much market share PCCW has lost in the first half as a result of the increasing competition. The dominant carrier operated 3.48 million lines as of December last year. According to industry estimates, PCCW has lost 43 per cent more lines year on year in the first eight months, and has been losing as many as 1,200 lines a day since June.