China Telecom has confirmed it is in talks with a number of potential strategic investors regarding its newly-acquired CDMA mobile network. “The company is interested in having a strong strategic partner of mutual benefits at an appropriate time in future and has been approached by a number of parties,” China Telecom spokesperson Jacky Yung said in a statement this week, reports Bloomberg. Speculation is rife over which companies are involved, with reports suggesting that chip vendor Qualcomm, Singapore’s SingTel and South Korea’s SK Telecom are all in the frame. However, SK Telecom – which owns a small stake in China Unicom, the CDMA network’s previous owner – went on record this week to deny it was in talks.

China Telecom announced at the beginning of the week it would buy China Unicom’s CDMA business for 110 billion yuan (US$15.9 billion), marking the fixed-line operator’s first foray into the Chinese mobile market. But the network is small compared to the China Unicom and China Mobile GSM networks and the company is understood to need to invest an additional 30 billion to 40 billion yuan to upgrade it. It is reportedly seeking a government subsidy to do so. China Telecom was also linked this week with plans to migrate the network to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology within the next three years.