China Unicom yesterday launched its 3G network in 55 cities across the country. ‘China Unicom will provide consumers [with a] unique 3G experience and our advantage is the wide variety of handsets and high speed,’ said Chen Xu, market director of the telco’s Shanghai branch. Unicom has more than 20 W-CDMA handsets available for purchase, including models from Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Huawei and ZTE. It will launch phones from Nokia, Motorola, LG and Sharp next month, Chen said. 3G monthly tariff packages range in price from RMB168 (USD24.61) with 510 minutes of free calls and 60Mb data capacity to RMB1,686 for 7,000 minutes of free calls and 5Gb data capacity. Unicom plans to expand coverage to 284 cities by the end of the year.
Unicom is the last of the country’s three wireless licensees to get a 3G network off the ground: China Mobile began trials of its 3G services based on TD-SCDMA a year ago and now has coverage of 38 cities while China Telecom launched its CDMA20001x EV-DO network to 120 cities last month.