Unicom in u-turn over CDMA subsidies?

15 Oct 2003

In a surprising volte face, China Unicom is said to be poised to reverse an earlier commitment to reduce handset subsidies for its struggling CDMA network as it bids to reach its target of having 13 million new CDMA customers by the year end, according to Samsung Electronics handset supremo San Jing Park. Earlier this year China’s second largest wireless operator said it would pare back subsidies and cut costs to make its fledgling network self-sufficient and profitable. Following the decision however, take-up slowed and the company had secured just 5.8 million net additions in the year to 31 August 2003, to take its CDMA total to around twelve million. Speaking at a press conference at the ITU trade show in Geneva, San Jing Park, whose company is one of the largest manufacturers of CDMA phones in the world, said that ‘China Unicom has spent a lot of money on subsidising CDMA phones. This year they slowed that down a bit, but in the second half they are investing more in subsidising’.