China United Telecommunications Corp, has begun promoting its global positioning system to Shanghai's largest transport company and individual users in a bid to diversify its business.

Shanghai Unicom announced yesterday that it has signed a deal with Dazhong Transportation Group Co Ltd to provide the GPS service to the firm's 200 taxis. The service is based on Shanghai Unicom's CDMA, or code division multiple access, technology. Officials refused to reveal the charge for each taxi equipped with the GPS system.

Dazhong Transportation operates more than 7,000 cabs, ranks among the top-five taxi companies in Shanghai, and is already running a GPRS system provided by Shanghai Mobile Communications Co Ltd, Unicom's direct competitor. The GPS system is a worldwide radio navigation system formed from a constellation of 24 satellites and Shanghai Unicom's base stations. The system is able to track the positions of taxis through wireless communications, which will help staff in the call center find the nearest cab available for customers.

As Shanghai Unicom has already invested heavily to establish its CDMA network but so far failed to attract as many CDMA mobile phone subscribers than expected, it is seen as a good strategic move for the company to offer the CDMA network to companies in other industries. Shanghai Unicom also launched its GPS system to individual users before Valentine's Day, allowing users to find the nearest banks, restaurants and hotels through their cell phones.


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