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August 26, 2009

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China Telecom buys cheap 3G handsets

CHINA Telecom has purchased 4 million 3G handsets, including models priced at only 1,000 yuan (US$147), in a move expected to help the telecommunications carrier penetrate the medium-and-entry level market, the firm said yesterday.

China Telecom ordered the handsets from 31 firms, including ZTE, Samsung and Coolpad. The first entry-level phones are expected to debut by the end of this month, handset vendors said.

"It will help us expand into the entry-level market and diversify our portfolio," said Yang Xiaowei, China Telecom's vice president.

China Telecom will launch more 3G models priced between 700 yuan and 1,500 yuan. At present, most of China Telecom's 3G phones cost between 1,000 yuan and 3,000 yuan, the carrier said.

In January, China issued 3G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. The 3G networks allow users to access high-speed data services such as film downloads and video calls on their mobile phones.

China Telecom adopted the CDMA 2000 (code division multiple access) technology. Most CDMA 2000 handsets cost more than 2,000 yuan.

ZTE, China's biggest telecommunications equipment maker, said it signed a deal to sell nearly 1 million CDMA 2000 phones and data cards to China Telecom. Four CDMA 2000 models, which each cost less than 1,000 yuan, are expected to debut in the domestic market by the end of this month, according to Li Jichao, ZTE's CDMA division director.

Meanwhile, ZTE will also introduce a smartphone and a touch-screen model by the end of this year.



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