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Unicom slashes 3G tariffs to step up competition

In a bid to attract subscribers, China Unicom has halved the monthly fee that it charges for its 3G service. The operator’s cheapest monthly 3G tariff – formerly CNY96 – has now been reduced to CNY46 (around US$7).

In an official statement, the operator commented: “The new 3G tariff packages greatly reduce the consumption threshold, while adding more minutes of local calls, and more flexible billing.”

The three largest operators in China are increasingly fighting for the 3G market, with China Mobile and China Telecom competing with Unicom for the country’s 38 million-plus 3G subscribers.

Unicom is currently in second place with 11.6 million subscribers at the end of October 2010, while China Mobile holds the lead with 16.98 million. China Telecom has stated that at the end of September 2010 its 3G subscribers numbered around 9.15 million.

China Mobile holds a massive 70% share of the country’s mobile market, and so its 3G lead is comparatively slim, with only 5 million more 3G subscribers than Unicom. This may result from its use of Chinese-developed TD-SCDMA technology, which lacks the established global install base of the rival technologies – WCDMA and EV-DO 3G – that are used respectively by Unicom and China Telecom.

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