China Unicom and its subsidiaries plan to deploy small cells from Nokia to enhance its 3G and 4G coverage and capacity.
Unicom will deploy Flexi Zone small cells in 31 provinces, in both indoor and outdoor locations and in urban and rural areas. These provinces represent 20% of the company's network and include Shanghai, Sichuan and Hunan.
The operator is pursuing the deployment to meet the ongoing growth in demand for mobile broadband services. Unicom has added 55 million 4G subscribers so far this year to take the total to over 160 million.
As well as the small cells, Nokia will also supply a low power radio head for the deployment. The small cells will be software upgradable to support narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), laying the foundation for the introduction of future IoT and 5G services.
“This agreement extends the long-term cooperation between China Unicom and Nokia. We have developed a small cell portfolio that will allow operators to cost-efficiently densify and scale their networks, boosting 3G and 4G performance to stay ahead of demand,” Unicom Shanghai Bell head of customer business Gao Bo said.
“By combining this small cell technology with our extensive global services expertise, we can optimize any deployment for China Unicom."