China Unicom, the People’s Republic’s second largest wireless network operator, has more than halved the monthly subscription of its entry-level 3G mobile package in a bid to boost its customer base. Reuters is reporting that the cheapest 3G data package will now start at RMB46 (USD7) a month, down from RMB96, and will be available from the end of December.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, China Unicom claimed 10.55 million users of its W-CDMA network at the end of September 2010, compared to China Telecom’s 15.28 million TD-SCDMA customers at the same date. China Telecom’s CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network brought up the rear with 9.15 million 3G customers, to take the country 3G total to 34.98 million from a total wireless base of 804.25 million. Last month Unicom upped its presence in the 3G market when it announced it would begin selling a smartphone which it had developed in-house, by the end of the year. The UPhone will run on a ‘totally-new’ operating system based on Linux, and has been designed in cooperation with Huawei, Okwap and ZTE. The device follows criticism that Unicom had failed to capitalise on its iPhone exclusivity and that it had not made the most of its 3G network being technologically superior to its rival’s. Unicom’s UPhone is expected to be a mid-tier, rather than high-end, smartphone.