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China Unicom Starts Testing 3G Network in 55 Cities

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China Unicom says that it has started trials of its WCDMA network covering 55 cities, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported. The network is expected to expand to 284 cities by September and a full commercial launch is due by the end of this year.

China Unicom is the last of the country's three major operators to start testing its 3G network.

Chang Xiaobing, chairman of China Unicom (Hong Kong) has previously commented that he expects the company's 3G services to turn a profit in 2010, but warned that profit margins could be hit by increasing competition.

China Unicom expects that its capital expenditure with reach USD8.8 billion during 2009, with a further USD5.8 billion to be spent in 2010. China Mobile recently said that it plans to spend USD8.6 billion on its own network during 2009.

"Compared to telecom operators, the prospects for telecom gear makers are a little better. Some of them, such as (Chinese companies) Huawei and ZTE, may even gain more market share in the process," Wang Jinjin, a telecom industry analyst with UBS told China Daily. Foreign telecom equipment makers' total share in China's 3G market may fall below 50 percent, BDA China, a Beijing-based telecom research firm, predicted earlier.

Late last year, the Chinese government said that it anticipates that the three mobile networks will spend in aggregate, some USD41 billion on their 3G networks - with at least USD29 billion being spent within the next twelve months.

On the web: Xinhua News Agency

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Tags: china unicom  w-cdma  wcdma  3g  unicom  China