Speaking at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, China Unicom chairman Lu Yimin has said he plans to roll out HSPA services in some Chinese cities during 2010. The operator is also testing HSPA+ technology, and researching IMS, with a view to eventually rolling out LTE services. ‘At the start of 2009 the Chinese government awarded 3G licences. By the end of last year China Unicom’s 3G network covered 335 cities, building 160,000 base stations,’ said Lu, during a keynote speech. ‘We are deploying HSPA in some cities this year,’ he commented, without furnishing further details.
Lu said he is aiming to make China Unicom the country’s largest 3G provider by subscribers, by tapping the demand for low-cost smartphones. In October 2009 Unicom became the first in China to offer the coveted iPhone, announcing in December that shipments of Apple’s smartphone had reached 100,000 since launch.
However Lu said China Unicom is looking to offer a range of more affordable smartphones, and will soon be launching a low-cost device. ‘Smart terminals are important, and we are working on 3G smartphones to make the most of our 3G services,’ he said.