China Telecom has reportedly closed the first phase of its tender for CDMA network equipment, awarding contracts to China’s ZTE and Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent’s local subsidiary Alcatel Shanghai Bell, and Fujian Fujitsu. Cellular News reports that the initial awards are valued at around US$1.5 billion but thought to be part of a larger tender worth upwards of US$10 billion. According to local press reports, ZTE has secured half the available contracts to date. Cellular News reports that ZTE has won the entire contract for building the mobile positioning system service and part of the contracts for the gateway of multimedia message service, mobile Internet gateway and other supporting infrastructure. It adds that Huawei has submitted a “surprisingly low bid” for the core network in order to earn money from subsequent basestation sales.
According to reports last week, it was estimated that six vendors were in the running to secure contracts with Huawei, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel Networks, Motorola and Samsung all linked with the tender. 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.