The new company, Shanghai Bell Samsung Mobile Communications, is being formed as part of Samsung Electronics' bid to win a slice of network infrastructure orders expected to be placed by China United Telecommunications (China Unicom) next year. The venture has received the approval of the Chinese Government, Samsung said.
China Unicom, the country's second major carrier, started deploying commercial Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks earlier this year as the first stage of a national cellular network. Working with Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies, Ericsson and Motorola, the first stage is due to be completed by the end of this year and will serve around 13 million users. The second stage orders, due next year, are expected to push network capacity to 70 million users.
South Korea was the first nation in the world to begin a commercial CDMA service and, with high-speed 2.5G services already available, is on the leading edge of CDMA worldwide.
Shanghai Bell, which is majority-owned by Alcatel, will own 51% of the new company with Samsung Electronics holding the remaining 49%.