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How 4G has helped change and improve lives in China

By Ma Si and Cheng Yu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-20 08:02

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 China 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.

How 4G has helped change and improve lives in China

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