According to an insider from China Unicom, the company has required its branches in major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, to finish construction of WCDMA networks before April 17, 2009, and then to start a one-month internal operation and system test to make preparations for the official launch of the commercial use of WCDMA on May 17, 2009.

Having decided the date for the opening of this new service, China Unicom has accelerated its first-round WCDMA equipment tender. This tender covers 55 Chinese cities, including provincial capitals, specifically designated cities and some developed cities, and the tender will last for several rounds.

Eight telecommunications companies, including Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, ZTE, Motorola, New Postcom and FiberHome, are participating in the tender. However, because the equipment used by Motorola is from Huawei and those used by New Postcom and FiberHome are from Ericsson, equipment made by five manufacturers will actually compete in the tender.

By the results in 13 cities already revealed by China Unicom, equipment makers who offer low prices gain more market share. So far, ZTE is the largest winner in the 13 cities, followed by Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent, while Ericsson and Huawei have not gained any share.

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