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Unicom ready to launch 3G services

CHINA Unicom will launch its third-generation mobile phone services by the end of this month, mainly in five 3G services - data card, mobile music, mobile TV, mobile search and video call, the company said yesterday.

This is the first time China Unicom, the country's No. 2 mobile carrier, has revealed details of its 3G plan, although rivals China Mobile and China Telecom have launched or promoted their services since the country issued 3G licenses to the three carriers in January.

"Though we are the last one to talk about our 3G plan, our technology is the most mature in the world," China Unicom said.

China Unicom is set to finish building its 3G network in 55 cities in the year's first half and in 282 cities by the year's end, based on the Europe-developed WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) technology, Chairman Chang Xiaobin said last month.

China Mobile has launched 3G services based on the home-developed TD-SCDMA (time division-synchronous CDMA). China Telecom has started trials of 3G services based on the United States-developed CDMA 2000 in several cities, including Shanghai.

China Mobile yesterday teamed up with 17 personal-computer makers to market 29 netbook models with TD-SCDMA built-in chips, which can be bought in China Mobile outlets.

Globally, 70 percent of 3G users subscribe to WCDMA carriers. The WCDMA is the most commercially mature 3G technology as it has been widely adopted worldwide. Many popular overseas phones support WCDMA, including the iPhone 3G, Nokia's N96 and E71 and Samsung's F480 and i900. China Unicom is also in talks with Apple to introduce the iPhone 3G, perhaps next month.



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