HONG KONG, March 20 (Reuters) - China Telecom Corp Ltd , the country's third-largest carrier, said on Tuesday that it has set capital expenditure for 2012 at about 54 billion yuan ($8.54 billion), up 9 percent from a year earlier.
Chief Executive Wang Xiaochu was speaking at a news conference after China Telecom reported that 2011 net profit rose 7.5 percent to 16.5 billion yuan ($2.6 billion).
In February, China Telecom signed a deal with Apple Inc to sell iPhones in China, the world's biggest mobile phone market with almost 1 billion subscribers. Apple previously had an exclusive distribution deal with China Unicom. ($1 = 6.3233 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Chris Lewis)