China Mobile tests 5G network of over 1,000 Mbps in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, in October. Photo: VCG
News that a Chinese visiting scholar lost contact for two days during a trip to a forest due to a poor mobile phone connection has gone viral on Chinese social media, with users teasing the low quality of mobile coverage in the US and analysts stressing the importance of Huawei to the country's telecoms development.
Chinese visiting scholar Wang Mianmian, who visited a forest on Friday and soon after lost contact, was reported missing to police by her family, according to a media report.
Fortunately, Wang on Monday was able to reconnect to her mobile network, posting on her Wechat moments, "I am back, no worries, I did not notice the mobile phone connection in the US is poor. Sorry for that."
Wang's experience later spread across Chinese social media, with users complaining about the poor mobile phone connection in the US and criticizing the telecoms construction from capital-driven carriers in the US.
"The telecoms development in the US is relatively lagging. It is ok in major cities, but the mobile phone connection in some rural areas is very poor or even non-existent," a user of Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao said in a comment.
Citing the example of the Yellow Stone National Park, the user said that there is no connection in most of the park, and if one can be found, it is hard to even make a phone call for help.
A Sina Weibo user said that, unlike China's national construction model that takes less-populated rural areas under same consideration as large cities, the capital-driven construction in the US has made a different choice.
The user's comment was echoed by an industry analyst.
Wang's incident also shows that the telecoms construction in the US cannot continue without Huawei, a Chinese telecoms solution provider that has been facing challenges in the US, Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Monday.
"The major telecoms carriers, who are capital-oriented companies, mostly focus on highly populated areas rather than rural regions, so the telecoms construction in less-populated areas generally needs to rely on small, local carriers," Xiang said.
"But these small carriers usually don't have enough capital to build optical-fiber-based networks. It is almost the case that only Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE can provide affordable alternative solutions for them, so they cannot leave Huawei," Xiang added.
According to Xiang, thus far, there are roughly 12 million mobile network base stations globally, including 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G stations, of which China has about 8 million and the US about 400,000. China has more than 4 million 4G stations while the US has roughly 200,000.