China aims to roll out comprehensive 4G network coverage across the entire country by 2018, according to an action plan published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Monday.
According to ECNS, the country plans to both upgrade the existing urban network infrastructure while also expanding dramatically by installing fiber optic cables in rural and remote areas, as part of the MIIT’s ambitious three-year action plan named “Internet Plus.”
The ministry unveiled the plan in July of this year and has set the target of “basically completing a broadband-based, integrated, ubiquitous and secure next-generation national information infrastructure.”
As part of this MIIT will also not only work hard at promoting 4G in the country, but boost research and development into 5G too.
The action plan will integrate mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks, and Internet banking, and to help Internet companies increase their international presence.
MIIT’s plans are being propelled by the ambitions and cooperation between leading telecom providers in the country. China Mobile Communications Corp, the world’s largest telecom carrier by subscribers, expects to have 500 million users by the end of next year.
Although the company hopes to maintain its present edge in the telecom market amid stiff domestic competition, China Mobile last week held a joint press conference with rival China Telecom calling for the the standardization of smartphone technologies so that they can nab more 4G customers. The two mobile giants even signed a deal in October to jointly construct 4G base stations and share 4G resources, reported China Daily.
By August of last year, MIIT reported that China is closing in on having an incredible one billion mobile web users. At that stage there were specifically 946 million mobile web users, with around 10 million being added to that astonishing figure each month. Of that total, 270 million of those were already using 4G, reports Tech in Asia.
In 2013 there were a paltry 591 million internet users in China. At the current rate the country will have more than 1 billion before the end of the year, however, the difficulty and scale of the operation to provide 4G access to all those users remains simply enormous.
By Daniel Paul