China Unicom buys China Netcom for $24B

As part of the restructuring of China's state-controlled telecom industry, wireless operator China Unicom will acquire fixed line operator China Netcom in a share swap valued at about about $24 billion and will sell two of its smaller wireless properties to fixed line operator China Telecom and its parent for nearly $16 billion in cash.

The new deals will create more competition for China Mobile, which is currently the largest wireless carrier in the world with 400 million subscribers. China Unicom, with only 160 million subscribers, has been constrained because it had to operate two separate nationwide networks using different technologies. That burden will likely be lifted as it is selling the less profitable of two networks.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

Related article:
Is China finally moving to 3G? Read this article on China's telecom restructuring.