China Unicom, the smaller of China’s two large cellular phone groups, has reduced its expansion target for its CDMA network by one third, Reuters reported. Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia, held in Hainan in April, company president Wang Jianzhou said that the group, which had planned to expand its capacity to 15m users by the end of this year, would now aim for an expansion of “at least 10m”. The group would continue with its plans for a software upgrade that will transfer data at higher speeds.
Earlier in the month, Unicom announced that it had added 280,000 customers between March 18 and April 7, claiming that this indicated accelerating customer adoption of CDMA, since the network gained only 9,000 new users in February. CDMA subscribers now totalled 800,000, of whom 440,000 had been inherited from an earlier network absorbed into China Unicom. By contrast, during the first three months of 2002 China Unicom gained 3m new subscribers for its existing GSM network.
The company had blamed the slow start of its CDMA service on a lack of handsets, but now says that there are 600,000 handsets on the market, with 18 different models.