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Beijing Telecom to Unveil 3G Phones

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Beijing Telecom, the Beijing branch of China Telecom, announced yesterday that it will issue three types of CDMA EVDO phones before the World Telecommunication Day, which falls on May 17, when China Unicom is set to launch the trial run of its WCDMA services together with WCDMA phones, China Business News reported on Thursday.

China Telecom, the country's biggest fixed-line phone company, on April 16 announced the launch of the trial run of its third generation (3G) mobile services based on the CDMA networks in 120 Chinese cities, but consumers have so far been unable to use the services with the absence of 3G phones.

Beijing Telecom said the coming 3G phones will be priced between 2,000 yuan ($293) and 3,000 yuan.

The company will also start to offer eight 3G services, including WiFi, mobile video, instant messaging, and music downloads. Video calls will not be available on the phones, however.

Beijing Telecom said since video calling is not an essential feature of the 3G business at the present stage and involves privacy issues that have to be addressed first, it plans to bring in the function in the future.

Rates are yet to be detailed for the 3G services, but the company said 3G phone call rates would be the same as the 2G phone rates, according to China Business News.

Beijing Telecom doesn't plan to promote sales of the new services through any discount policies, despite that China Unicom, China's second-largest wireless carrier, will offer a 50 percent discount during the three-month trial run of its WCDMA services starting May 17.

On Jan 7, China officially awarded the licenses for 3G mobile networks to three telephone operators.

China Mobile, the country's largest mobile phone operator, got a license for networks based on TD-SCDMA, a home-grown 3G standard. Smaller rivals China Unicom and China Telecom were granted licenses for WCDMA and CDMA2000 respectively.

China will invest around 280 billion yuan in network upgradation and expansion over the next two years.

( May 14, 2009)