China Unicom, the country’s second largest wireless operator by subscribers, is ramping up its 4G LTE deployment as it seeks to narrow the gap with market leader China Mobile. Telecom Asia cites Unicom’s president and executive director Lu Yiming as saying that the company has halted the large-scale capacity expansion of its 3G network this year to increase the dedicated resources for its 4G business instead. Unicom’s 4G service currently covers major urban cities, counties and towns, but Lu said the firm plans to put into operation around 500,000 4G base transceiver stations (BTS) this year, bringing the total number of 3G and 4G cell sites to 1.2 million by the end of December, equivalent to coverage of 95% of the population.
Unicom will also increase the downlink speed offered by its LTE network, to up to 300Mbps by year-end, and to 330Mbps in 2016 via the use of tri-band carrier aggregation (CA) technology. Further, next year will also see the company conduct a full-scale deployment of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).