Interfax-China reports that six vendors are bidding for China Telecom’s RMB15 billion (US$2.19 billion) CDMA network tender, with the results expected to be released as early as next week. According to the report, regional suppliers Huawei and ZTE are battling western vendors Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel Networks and Motorola, whilst South Korean manufacturer Samsung is also involved. Analysts expect ZTE and Huawei to win the largest shares of the deal. China Telecom agreed to acquire China Unicom’s CDMA business for RMB110 billion (US$16.02 billion) in early June as part of the country’s telecoms industry restructuring. Last month, China Telecom announced it plans to spend RMB80 billion (US$11.7 billion) over the next three years in upgrading the network. The operator is planning to commercially launch the network in February next year and is aiming to more than double the number of subscribers currently on the network to around 100 million by 2010.
Meanwhile, China Mobile – the world’s largest operator by subscribers – has launched a RMB30 billion (US$4.37 billion) tender for network equipment to be used to expand its TD-SCDMA network coverage to 18 more cities, according to Interfax-China. A report notes that the operator’s 3G TD-SCDMA network currently covers 10 cities and will expand to cover a total of 28 major regions in China, including all the country’s municipalities and provincial capitals, once the Olympic Games are finished. In separate Chinese developments, remaining mobile operator China Unicom announced yesterday that its chairman and CEO Chang Xiaobing will retain his position following its merger with China Netcom. The company, which will be known as China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited once the merger is completed, expects most of the integration work to be finished within a year of completing the deal. Shareholders of both China Unicom and China Netcom will vote on the merger at meetings next month. If the merger is approved, China Netcom’s shares will be delisted from the Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges on October 15.