Mobile communications and mobile Internet as well are widely spread in China. And by widely spread we mean that you will barely find a person without a smartphone, constantly surfing the web. Until now, there are three mobile carriers in China. The oldest and the biggest one is China Mobile. It is using GSM, 3G TD-SCDMA and 4G TD-LTE standards. The second carrier is China Unicom, it has used GSM and CDMA standards, as well as TD-LTE, WCDMA and CDMA2000, but in 2008 it sold his CDMA business to China Telecom company, which became the third mobile carrier. Now it has WCDMA and CDMA2000 standard too.
The first 3G network was launched in 2008 by China Mobile, since that time – mobile Internet became extremely popular in PRC. As the Ministry Of Information Technologies reports, there are 750 million of users of mobile Internet in PRC now. And their quantity has increased greatly during the last 11 months, as well as the income of Chinese telecommunication companies. Experts are sure that the growth will still remain and mobile Internet will continue to conquer the country.
The PRC, was among the first countries, which started building its own 4G network. The fourth generation of communications are such mobile standards, which are able to provide the 100 Mb/sec for mobile and 1 Gb/sec speed for stationary users.
Chinese carriers use a special TD-LTE standard, developed in China, it provides huge speeds, starting from 100 Mb/sec, while 3G network are able to provide up to 3,5 Mb/sec speed. China Mobile has launched its 4G network in 2009 and now it is available in all major cities. The company has already built and launched more than 20 thousands base stations. LG, HTC, Huawei and ZTE have already launched TD-LTE ready smartphones.
As you have probably understood, the most widely spread mobile network, that covers the biggest area is the China Mobile network. That company covers all the inhabited areas, including the remote hardly reachable locations. China Unicom works well mostly in big cities and in some places, especially in western regions the reception may be weak.
There are no big differences between China Mobile and China Unicom, they both work with the classic GSM, so your phone, will still work in there. But if you want to use a 4G connection there, you will have to get a local smartphone, because most of LTE based smartphones have well known compatibility problems with TD-LTE. Also, if you plan your visit to China you should know that all the incoming calls are not free there and there are lots of such little catches in Chinese carrier's service plans.
The PRC also has its own global navigation system, which is called Beidou. It became operational in 2011 with 10 satellites in use. It covers a whole Asia-Pacific region, so it hard to call the Beidou system really global. Well, GPS will still work there. They plan to improve the system greatly to 2020.
Well, as a conclusion we may say that China has the biggest and the most advanced market of mobile communications, and it growths faster, than anywhere. The problem is that there are lots of particular features, that distinct Chinese market from any other market in the world.