Unicom places growth ahead of profit

10 Jun 2003

China’s second largest mobile operator China Unicom has slashed prices for CDMA handsets in a bid to meet its year-end target for subscriber acquisitions, although the move looks likely to prevent the new network from turning a profit in the world’s largest mobile market. In Guangdong, Unicom is reportedly selling handsets on a yearly contract at USD36 – 72% lower than the equivalent model with a pre-pay option. The cellco is aiming to sign up 11.4 million users in 2003 and added 2.3 million, or 20% of its target in the first four months of the year. The decision to discount heavily is being interpreted as a sign that the company is more interested in subscriber growth than making the network profitable.

China