China Unicom to deploy Nokia small cells in 31 provinces

china unicom
Image credit: TK Kurikawa /

Nokia has signed a deal with China Unicom, which will deploy Nokia Flexi Zone small cells and an AirScale low power radio head in 31 provinces in China.

This will give China Unicom’s subsidiaries new flexibility as they densify busy city 3G and 4G LTE networks and further enhance performance in suburban and rural locations, Nokia said.

Initial small cell deployments will allow China Unicom subsidiaries to extend coverage and capacity to meet growing subscriber mobile data demands. According to China Unicom’s most recent operating report, the company has seen the number of 4G subscribers on its network increase during 2017 by approximately 55 million to reach a total of over 160 million.

By deploying the Nokia Flexi Zone portfolio, China Unicom will be able to densify the network where it isn’t possible to add a macro base station because of space or cost constraints. Small cells can also be used to extend coverage and capacity inside offices and homes, as well as in high-traffic locations such as train stations and shopping malls.

The small cells can also be upgraded via software to deliver NB-IoT, which means the deployments will also lay the foundation for the future introduction of IoT and 5G services.

Unicom will deploy four Nokia products as part of the rollout: the Flexi Zone Mini-Macro, Nokia Flexi Zone Micro, Flexi Zone Pico and AirScale Micro RRH. The 31 provinces represent 20% of Unicom’s network and include Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hunan, Sichuan, Shanghai, Guangxi, Xinjiang, Guizhou, Fujian, Gansu, Shaanxi and Jiangxi.

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