US-French vendor Alcatel-Lucent has been selected by China Telecom to upgrade its 3G network and lay the foundations for the transition to Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the future. Alcatel will double the capacity of the existing network as well as expanding its coverage and boosting speeds for end-users. The equipment manufacturer also claims that the improvements will reduce recurring costs to China Telecom in 56 cities over nine provinces. Driving the revamp is the rapid growth in China Telecom’s 3G subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, over the last twelve months the number of China Telecom’s mobile data users has almost tripled from 7.2 million in June 2010 to 21.5 million in June 2011.
Also improving its network to cope with the deluge of 3G customers is China Unicom. ZTE announced last week that it had been selected by China Unicom to provide 70% of the cellco’s transmission equipment in 15 provinces. The deal includes optical transport network (OTN) and wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) equipment in metro, core and peripheral areas. The deal is part of an ongoing project to build a powerful packet transport network (PTN) for 3G and LTE services.