Mainland telecommunications operators have been ordered not to install new phone lines during the Olympics to avoid disrupting network traffic, according to an internal memo from the industry regulator. Industry sources said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently circulated a 'network closure' notice, which said telecommunications operators and their agents were not allowed to carry out network construction work, network upgrades and new connections. The arrangement was made to ensure network security during the Olympics to avoid any emergencies such as hackers gaining access to the mainland telecommunications network, industry sources said. The arrangement will affect major operators such as China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and China Netcom. For the seven cities hosting Olympic events - Beijing, Hong Kong, Tianjin, Shenyang, Shanghai, Qingdao and Qinhuangdao - the order runs from July 20 to September 20. Other cities which are not hosting Olympic events have to follow the order from August 1 to 25. A PCCW source said cross-border lines had been affected by the policy but domestic lines were not. 'Our Shanghai office relocation progress is affected by the new arrangement made by the government,' said a source at a Hong Kong-based public relations firm. 'China Telecom told us that no new installation can be executed during the network closure period. We can just put our relocation on hold until the network closure period expires.' The source also worried that several meetings conducted by video conferencing between Hong Kong and the mainland may be affected by the arrangement. Mobile operators can only conduct network planning study and tender for sourcing equipment. They will not be allowed to carry out network construction work even for the TD-SCDMA third-generation wireless network. Market watchers believed that the arrangements could affect new businesses in broadband internet access, installation of new fixed lines in commercial districts and additional bandwidth for news portals and online game operators. 'We have anticipated that new business during the Olympic period could slow down because the focus will be on the games,' said Marvin Lo, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research.