Next month China Unicom will add a further 168 cities, spread across 18 provinces, to the existing 100 in its W-CDMA network trial, according to a press release issued recently. China Unicom was awarded a 3G licence based on the W-CDMA standard at the beginning of 2009, and TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported earlier this month that the operator had signed a USD700 million contract with Ericsson to become the main supplier to upgrade its GSM networks in ten provinces, and also W-CDMA core network and/or wireless access systems in 15 provinces, including transmission, IP and value-added service platforms.
The new cities to be incorporated into the trial are based in provinces including Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hunan, Liaoning, Sichuan and Yunnan. The trial has already been extended from an initial 56 cities to the current 100. The company has earmarked CNY110 billion (USD161.2 million) for network expansion this year.