How 4G has helped change and im­prove lives in China

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By MA SI and CHENG YU chengyu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China has built the world’s largest 4G net­work within just four years.

Over­all sub­scribers surged to nearly 850 mil­lion by the end of April from about 380 mil­lion in 2015 when it was first widely used.

In­dus­try in­sid­ers stress that 4G has been the great­est achievement in the na­tional in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy sec­tor dur­ing the past five years in ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas.

“The de­vel­op­ment of 4G has brought about the pros­per­ity of mo­bile in­ter­net and changed peo­ple’s lives,” said Li Zheng­mao, vice-pres­i­dent of China Mo­bile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp.

Along with the other two ma­jor play­ers, China United Net­work Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Group Co Ltd and China Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp, China Mo­bile has pumped vast re­sources into 4G tech­nol­ogy.

Sta­tis­tics re­leased from the tele­com giant showed it had ex­panded its 4G base sta­tions from 1.1 mil­lion to 1.62 mil­lion from 2015 to 2017.

This alone ac­counted for 32 per­cent of the world’s to­tal 4G base sta­tions.

As the num­ber con­tin­ues to rise, users have ex­pe­ri­enced in­creased speed when surf­ing the in­ter­net. The China Uni­com net­work, for ex­am­ple, has reached 300 megabits per sec­ond.

But then the ben­e­fits of 4G are not lim­ited to ur­ban ar­eas. Ru­ral re­gions in Chi- na have also been opened up by the ser­vice.

In Huang­gang, Hubei province, farm­ers can sell their pro­duce on­line through e-com­merce sites, and buy cru­cial equip­ment safer and quicker through the net­work.

China Tele­com has spent 200 mil­lion yuan ($29.46 mil­lion) to roll out 1,300 base sta­tions in Huang­gang.

The de­ci­sion has in­creased 4G cov­er­age rates from 35 per­cent to 93 per­cent. It has also helped lo­cal farm­ers with vi­tal agri­cul­tural in­for­ma­tion, as well as al­le­vi­at­ing poverty through on­line ed­u­ca­tion.

High-speed ac­cess has in­jected new en­ergy into the on­line mo­bile mar­ket.

The coun­try’s largest pay­ment plat­form Ali­pay, high- speed rail links, bike-shar­ing busi­nesses and e-com­merce are known as China’s “Four Great In­ven­tions” of the 21st cen­tury.

Ex­cept for high-speed rail, the other three thrived on the ba­sis of the coun­try’s sprawl­ing 4G net­work.

Mo­bike, China’s lead­ing bike-shar­ing com­pany, launched in­tel­li­gent 4G cy­cles this year. Users can un­lock the bikes more quickly and the com­pany can mon­i­tor cy­cles in real time.

Still, the fu­ture is just as bright as net­works change.

“Fu­ture tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing 5G, the in­ter­net of things and AI (ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence) will drive so­ci­ety into the era of the in­ter­net of ev­ery­thing,” Li, vice-pres­i­dent of China Mo­bile, said.

China Tele­com

China Mo­bile

China Uni­com

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