China Unicom launches 4G services
2014-March-19 Source:
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China Unicom, the country's second-largest wireless operators in terms of subscribers, launched its 4G service Tuesday, making it the last of the country's three major wireless carriers to do so.

China Unicom's 4G monthly package starts at 76 yuan ($12.26), with 200 minutes call time and 400 megabytes wireless traffic, while a similar package could cost 88 yuan at its major rival China Mobile.

At a partner conference Tuesday, China Unicom launched a total of 61 terminals together with companies including Samsung and Lenovo, and 25 of the new terminals launched are China-developed TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution) terminals.

At the event, China Unicom also signed this year's sales contracts with 16 companies. Terminal sales would top 188 million units in 2014, media reports said.

The company will first provide 4G services in 25 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province, and by the end of this year, its 4G services will expand to 300 cities, Web portal reported Tuesday.

China Unicom will initially use the China-developed TD-LTE network, but it is also planning to adopt the FDD-LTE (frequency-division duplexing) network after the government issues licenses for the standard. The FDD-LTE standard has already been used in countries such as the US and the UK, earlier media reports said.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued 4G TD-LTE licenses to China's three major telecommunication companies in December. China Mobile launched 4G services in the same month.

China Unicom's smaller rival China Telecom launched 4G services in February, but it only released the price policy for mobile data, with the price policy for calls and voice yet to be published.

Analysts noted that with China Unicom finally joining the competition, the price of 4G services may get lower in the future.

There have been complaints about the expensive 4G service charges by China Mobile's since the launch of its 4G services.

China Unicom had gained a head start in the 3G arena, as it was the first company to introduce the contract Apple handsets to China. By January, China Unicom had total 3G users of 126 million.

China Mobile had 206 million 3G subscribers by January, and China Telecom had 103 million 3G subscribers, according to their filings on the Hong Kong bourse.

Source: Global Times

Editor: Olivia
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