China Telecom has contracted Nokia to enhance the operator's 4G coverage and capacity to meet growing subscriber demand.
The companies have signed an agreement to expand the deployment of 4G in 19 provinces nationwide, which will include preparing China Telecom's network for the planned launch of VoLTE services next year.
Nokia will provide equipment including its Flexi MultiRadio base stations for the deployment, as well as project management, network design and installation and hardware and software maintenance services.
The agreement covers the provinces of Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang, Hunan, Hubei, Guangxi, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Heilongjiang, Hebei, Henan, Sichuan, Anhui, Liaoning, Guizhou, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.
China Telecom added 31 million 4G users during the first six months of 2016 alone, taking its total to 90 million from an overall mobile subscriber base of nearly 207 million.
Last year 4G traffic meanwhile grew more than sixfold, and is expected to account for more than 90% of the operator's total mobile data traffic by 2017.
“This agreement with China Telecom builds on our long history of collaboration. Our deep-rooted knowledge of the Chinese market will enable China Telecom to meet the demands of an ever-growing and dynamic 4G subscriber base,” Nokia Networks China head Mike Wang said.