Unicom struggles with CDMA

20 Oct 2003

China’s second largest mobile operator, China Unicom, is struggling to sell phones for its 20-month old CDMA network in the wealthy province of Guangdong. The company launched the network in 2002 to run alongside its GSM network, but things have not run smoothly, with repeated complaints over billing problems and poor network coverage. Meanwhile, a rival service called Shihuatong has begun offering CDMA handsets and monthly subscriptions at significantly lower prices than Unicom. Unicom’s CDMA networks in the Liaoning, Shandong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces have all broken even, but it admits it cannot see this happening with the Guangdong network. In the first half of this year the provincial network lost CNY590 million (USD71 million) before taxes.