China Telecom Corp, the mainland's largest fixed-line operator, yesterday opened its 3G mobile-telephone service for subscriptions in Beijing to compete with industry leader China Mobile. China Telecom said Beijing residents could subscribe to its mobile service at retail outlets and choose a telephone number with the prefix code '1890'. Previously, Beijing users could only subscribe through online channels. China Telecom hopes its prefix is close enough to China Mobile's '1390' that it can lure away subscribers who only need to change one of the 11 digits in their telephone numbers to switch to its service. China Telecom president Shang Bing earlier indicated the company aimed to add 35 million mobile-telephone subscribers this year and achieve 100 million users in three years. The company had about 28 million users at the end of last year. It will soft-launch its 3G mobile network based on the CDMA2000 EV-DO platform next month. Deutsche Bank estimated that China Telecom would add 2.5 million mobile-telephone users per month this year, and that total users by the end of this year would reach 58 million, with growth to be mainly driven by its aggressive network launch and recent successes in handset procurement. China Telecom estimated demand for CDMA devices would reach 50 million units this year. Mainland-based Sino Market Research estimated CDMA mobile-telephone sales hit a record of 1.88 million units in January. Meanwhile, China Mobile will invest 6 billion yuan (HK$6.8 billion) in Guangdong province to build 6,300 base stations for its TD-SCDMA 3G network in Shenzhen and Guangzhou this year, according to Guangdong general manager Xu Long yesterday. China Telecom shares yesterday rose 2.21 per cent to HK$2.77, while China Mobile was up 1.28 per cent at HK$71.50.