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China Unicom to invest $2.1b in Shanghai

China Unicom has announced a significant investment project involving expanding and upgrading its telecoms infrastructure, building new a IoT platform and data centers in Shanghai.

The move comes shortly after the operator signed an “Internet+” cooperation agreement with the Shanghai municipal government.

As part of the agreement, Unicom has committed to invest 14 billion yuan ($2.15 billion) to expand and upgrade its fixed optical network and wireless infrastructure in Shanghai over the next five years.

The operator said it plans to deploy tri-band carrier aggregation on its 4G networkto boost network speeds from 150Mbps to 500Mbps by 2018 and to 1Gbps by 2020, according to C114.net.

The company, China’s second largest mobile carrier by subscribers, aims to offer high-speed fiber and mobile broadband services at speeds of up to 1Gpbs in some key areas in the city.

In addition, Unicom will deploy 10Gbps passive optical technology, which is expected to cover 6 million residences with FTTx by 2018 and 7 million by 2020. The operator aims to have citywide VoLTE coverage – including HD audio and video calls and VoWi-Fi services – this year.

To help turn Shanghai into a smart city, Unicom said it will also deploy a city-wideNB-IoT (Narrow-band Internet of Things) platform for applications such as intelligent parking and environmental monitoring.  Construction of the NB-IoT network is expected to be completed in 2017 with the deployment of 3,000 network base stations.

The operator also plans to build new data centers and big data infrastructure to provide could computing applications and services for urban management and social services.

Unicom will also support SMEs’ “Internet+” transformation with innovative information services and its big data platform and cloud services.

Another area of focus is to help address the basic needs of general public by promoting the use of innovation applications in various fields, such as transport, healthcare, education, travel and smart home.