Unicom CDMA promotion steps up a gear

3 Jun 2003

China Unicom [NYSE: CHU], the country’s second-largest cellco, has announced a change in its marketing strategy as it seeks to boost the slowing take-up of its CDMA service. Subscriber growth has been minimal so far this year, with the continuing SARS epidemic denting sales further still. Despite offering increasingly generous incentives to new customers, there are concerns that Unicom will fail to reach its subscriber target of 20 million, up from seven million at the end of 2002. In response the operator has unveiled plans for increased promotion at its 60,000 retail outlets, a number of new and improved services (including accurate global positioning and faster online access), more handsets, and a dramatic increase in advertising budget. The aggressive new round of promotions will effectively relaunch Unicom’s CDMA service, spearheaded by national basketball star Yao Ming. And, if all else fails, the cellco has indicated it is prepared to cut its prices further, risking a price war with rival China Mobile.