Chinese vendors are reportedly the big winners in China Mobile’s third-round 3G network expansion tender worth CNY8.6 billion (US$1.26 billion). According to Reuters, ZTE has won 34 percent of the deal for the latest supply of TD-SCDMA kit, whilst Huawei grabbed 22 percent and Datang won 21 percent. China Mobile kicked off the third round TD-SCDMA network mobile equipment bidding on 16 March. The world’s largest mobile operator said it would buy equipment for its 39,000 base stations in 200 Chinese cities, expanding its network coverage to 70 percent of the country. The remainder was reportedly dispensed to five companies, including New Postcom, FiberHome, Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson, and Potevio with shares of 5 to 6 percent each. The tender is part of a rollout of 3G networks in the country that is valued at US$58.5 billion through 2011 by China Mobile and smaller rivals China Telecom and China Unicom

Meanwhile, Dow Jones Newswires reports that China Mobile will invest CNY70 billion (US$10.25 billion) in building and upgrading its networks and promoting the use of its 3G services in the country’s vast rural areas over the next three years, citing an agreement between the company and China’s Ministry of Agriculture. The move will see it add at least 10,000 so-called ‘natural’ villages to its network coverage every year in the next three years, with at least 98 percent of the country’s more than 5 million natural villages covered by the time the plan is complete.