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AT&T, China Telecom agree to expand partnership

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc and China Telecom Corp Ltd <0728.HK> have agreed to expand their relationship in China and the United States and will look into supporting each other in other regions.

AT&T said on Wednesday that the agreement would expand its services for business customers in China and that the companies would consider jointly developing services, including video conferencing and managed hosting.

They will also look at working together in other regions, according to AT&T, but it did not provide details.

China Telecom said it will be able to improve its services to Asian customers in the United States by using AT&T's network there for the first time in the expanded agreement.

AT&T already provides services to more than 600 business customers in China, where it says it saw growth in the double-digit percentage range in the last three years.

The new agreement will help AT&T expand its business among the 1,00 multinational companies it targets, Roman Pacewicz, AT&T senior vice president of marketing and global strategy for the company's business services, told Reuters.

Pacewicz said that the global business market is still relatively strong at least for now, despite economic uncertainties.

"Even with these tough economic times, we see the global multinational market behaving relatively well," he said. "We do view some headwinds ahead and as we all know there are some challenges, specifically in Europe."

AT&T and China Telecom have worked together since 2000, when they formed a joint venture, Shanghai Symphony Telecommunications Co.

AT&T shares were up 69 cents or 2.5 percent at $28.75 on the New York Stock Exchange late in the session.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York; editing by Lisa Von

Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick)

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