Motorola ahead in development race with $42m contract

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 April, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 April, 1998, 12:00am

The race among big equipment vendors to cash in on the mainland's cellular boom continues apace.

The latest contract has gone to Motorola for a US$42 million expansion of second operator China Unicom's network in Jiangsu province.

The investment in GSM will allow the network capacity to grow from 80,000 to 325,000 subscribers.

Five cities are now covered by Unicom's service, which was launched last year. By the end of the year, it wants to have nine cities covered by the service.

Not to be left out, Nokia has signed a deal to expand the GSM network of the Ningxia autonomous region, in the first instance by allowing the existing network to deliver Chinese short-message services.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Deliveries are start next month, with commercial services starting early next year.

Buried in Wharf (Holdings) results this week were a few clues as to how its telecoms offshoot, New T&T, is faring.

A slim announcement on New T&T said it had 36,000 lines and 320,000 subscribers to its 007-IDD service. Gross revenues for last year were $1.1 billion, expected to rise 50 per cent this year.

SmarTone is to allow reselling of its PCS service by paging provider Telecom Service (TSL). Under the agreement, SmarTone will provide PCS airtime for TSL to bundle with its paging services and sell on itself.

TSL was a small shareholder in the P-Plus PCS network that SmarTone bought for $736 million in March. SmarTone chief executive Hubert Ng Ching-wah described it as a 'win-win' agreement.