December 24, 2001, 10:03 AM — China United Telecommunications Corp. (China Unicom) is ready to begin offering commercial CDMA (code division multiple access) mobile phone services over its newly constructed national network from Dec. 31, the company announced Sunday.
In addition, the company plans to offer commercial trials of mobile-phone services using the more advanced CDMA 2000 1x technology in seven Chinese cities, it said.
Built at a total cost of 24 billion renminbi (US$2.9 billion), China Unicom's national CDMA network covers 330 cities in 31 provinces and autonomous regions and has the capacity to handle nearly 15.2 million subscribers. In addition to voice services, the network also supports basic text messages sent using SMS (short message service).
In addition to the rollout of commercial CDMA services, China Unicom plans to soon launch trial CDMA 2000 1x services in seven Chinese cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanchang and Haikou. Designed to accommodate 100,000 users, the CDMA 2000 1x trials will test more advanced services, such as high-speed Internet access and videophones.
China's Ministry of Information Industry last week reported that the number of mobile phone subscribers in China had reached 140 million in November, including 54.7 million [M] new subscribers added since the beginning of the year.