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Unicom's CDMA Gets APEC Trial
China Unicom, the nation's second-largest mobile communications operator, unveiled the first trial third-generation CDMA, or code division multiple access, network on the Chinese mainland over the weekend.

The network, called CDMA2000-1X, including six base stations on the east side of Huangpu River and five on the west, remains off-limits to commercial users.

At present, only about 1,000 delegates and officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings and media representatives covering the events can gain access to the network, which offers a mobile data-transmission speed of 150 kilobytes per second.

In Shanghai, the wireless Internet-connection speed at a normal mobile communications network is less than 20 kbps, while that of the GPRS, general packet radio service, which is considered the 2.5-generation technology, is slower than 50 kbps.

"The high-speed data transmission capability makes various wireless services possible," said Chen Xu, a senior technician of China Unicom. "Apart from Internet browsing, with our service, mobile phone users can watch television, download movies, make visual phone calls and even enjoy karaoke."

Cao Jiahua, sales manager of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s local branch, said the trial network uses the same technology as that of South Korea's 3G commercial network launched about a year ago.

China Unicom didn't reveal when its new technology will be available commercially or whether the network will be retained after the APEC meetings.

The company, however, noted that the first-phase construction of its second-generation CDMA network will be completed by the end of this year.

"As many as 510,000 mobile phone users in Shanghai will be able to enjoy a more efficient and healthier mobile service then," said Xu Guoqiang, head of China Unicom's CDMA Technology Department.

To date, China hasn't granted any licenses to 3G mobile communications operators.

China Unicom said users of the network will enjoy high-quality phone calls, which are as clear as those of the citywide fixed-line service.

The CDMA handsets also generate 10 times less radiation than normal mobile phones based on GSM, or the global system for mobile, communications, making them better for users' health.

"At present, nobody can tell when the 3G service will be available on the mainland, as companies are still waiting for licenses" Cao said.

(Eastday.com 10/15/2001)

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