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China Unicom's 3G services start trials

CHINA Unicom, one of the nation's three leading mobile operators, started trials of its high-speed third-generation (3G) network today.

China Unicom was licensed by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on January 7 to operate Europe's WCDMA standard.

It was the last operator after China Mobile and China Telecom to start trial operation for a 3G service.

The trial network covers 55 cities, and would expand to 284 cities by the end of September, said Chang Xiaobing, the company's president.

He said the regular service would start at the year-end, without giving a specific date.

Covered by the network, users could enjoy faster wireless data downloads, make video calls and watch TV programs via mobile phones, said the president.

MIIT issued three long-awaited 3G licenses on Jan. 7. The other two were to China Mobile, for TD-SCDMA the domestically-developed 3G standard, and to China Telecom for the US-developed CDMA2000.

The ministry expected the three operators would invest 170 billion yuan (US$24.87 billion) in 3G network construction this year.


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