China’s second largest mobile operator China Unicom has officially launched a dual-mode CDMA/GSM handset, as it looks to take the fight to larger rival China Mobile in the competitive Chinese wireless market. Launched under the brand name ‘World Wind’ the dual-mode phone supports both network platforms and is able to switch seamlessly between them. The new service will also enable Unicom to ensure the sustained development of both its GSM and CDMA networks, particularly after the latter struggled to gain a toehold in the market following its launch in 2002. China Unicom is offering World Wind in three different packages and with a choice of three handsets – the Motorola A860 (priced at USD575.90), the LG Electronics LGW800 (USD551.80) and the Samsung SCH-W109 – and has initially ordered 400,000 units to test consumer demand. Although handset costs are high the cellco plans to offer subsidies for telecoms services in the future to promote sales, and to attract more subscribers it will boost value added services (VAS) based on its CDMA 1x network.
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