Unicom launches 4G tender for 143 cities

3 Dec 2014

China Unicom, the nation’s second largest cellco by subscribers, has launched a tender for 4G equipment to cover 143 cities, Sina Tech reports, citing an insider. The tender is set to be Unicom’s largest yet for 4G technology, and will cover around half of prefecture-level cities. It was not revealed which 4G technology the tender was for, Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE), Frequency Division (FD)-LTE, or both. The home-grown TD-LTE standard is preferred by sector regulator the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), but the cellco is keen to utilise the rival FD platform. Unicom was handed a TD-LTE licence in December 2013 and launched 4G services based on that technology in March 2014. With MIIT yet to distribute full concessions for FD-LTE services, China Unicom was given permission to launch hybrid TD/FD-LTE networks in 16 cities in June 2014, with that number increased to 40 in August and 41 in November. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, however, the regulator is rumoured to be preparing to issue FD-LTE licences this month.