China Unicom, the country's No. 2 mobile operator, has more than halved the monthly subscription of its entry-level 3G mobile package in a bid to increase its customer base.

The cheapest 3G data package will now begin at 46 yuan ($7) a month, down from 96 yuan previously, and will be launched at the end of December, the company said in a statement posted on its website.

We hope to attract more users to our 3G service, because higher prices may keep some customers away, said China Unicom spokesman Wen Baoqiu.

China Unicom added over a million 3G users in the past two months, lower than bigger rival China Mobile's 1.7 million users added in October.

Like its peers in more developed economies, China Unicom and its rivals have been trying to court higher paying 3G customers in the face of slowing growth for the broader Chinese mobile market.

Unicom has had the most difficult transition following an overhaul of China's telecoms sector two years ago that left the industry with three main players. The company reached its current form through the merger of the country's No.2 wireless and fixed-line carriers.

(Reporting by Huang Yuntao)