Moldovan state-owned incumbent telecoms operator Moldtelecom has announced the commercial launch of W-CDMA/HSDPA services under the brand ‘Unite 3G’, following total network investment of MDL250 million (USD19.2 million). The operator already provides mobile CDMA2000 1x and 1xEV-DO services, first introduced in the capital Chisinau in March 2007 under the ‘Unite’ banner. Moldtelecom’s new 3G offering provides services such as mobile broadband at download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps, videocalling and high quality voice services. At launch, the third-generation network covers 68% of the population, including all the country’s major cities and regional centres, as well as many rural regions. In the near future the company plans to increase maximum downlink speeds to 21Mbps and add television to its portfolio of services on offer. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Moldtelecom was awarded a licence for the provision of 3G mobile services in December 2008 by the country’s telecoms regulator ANRCETI, after paying USD8 million. Chinese equipment vendor Huawei won a tender held in May 2009 to supply the 3G infrastructure, beating off competition from Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent Romania and SIS Solutions & Services.