Telecommunication companies in China: all you need to know
More than 400 million Chinese people own mobile phones, making China the country with the highest number of mobile phone users in the world. Mobile phone services are cheap and of high quality. The major telecommunication companies in China are China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.
Subscribing to a mobile phone service is very simple. You just need to buy a SIM card from any phone shop and a top-up card and that's it. There are several ways to recharge your SIM:
- Online: You can top up the SIM on the operator pages. You need to have a Chinese bank account online, and most importantly, you need to be able to navigate its chaotic pages which are written only in Chinese. China Unicom is the only operator that has a simple page in English to top up.
- WeChat and Alipay: If you have an account on Alipay or WeChat you can easily top up.
- Rechargeable SIM: Finally, you can always go to one of the shops that have your carrier's logo and buy a rechargeable SIM (充值 卡, Chōngzhí kǎ). On the back of the card you will find the instructions for use in both Chinese and English.
1. China Mobile
China Mobile Communications Corporation (Chinese: 中国 移动 通信) also known as China Mobile or CMCC is one of the leading telecommunication companies in China.
China Mobile was born from the monopolist China Telecom in 1997, and now owns 67.5% of the Chinese mobile phone market. It also owns the Pakistani telephone company Paktel. China Mobile is headquartered in Hong Kong.
2. China Telecom
China Telecom used to be a brand of China Telecommunications Corporation, but after China's opening to a market economy, the state-owned company spun off the group and is operating as a separate group.
As of 2017, there were 153 million users using the internet services of China Telecommunications Corporation, of which 134 million through the company China Telecom Corp., Ltd.
3. China Unicom
China United Network Communications Group Co., Ltd. (Chinese: 中国联合网络通信集团有限公司) is one of the Chinese state-owned telecommunication companies in China. China Unicom is the world's sixth-largest mobile service provider by subscriber base. Started wireless paging and GMS mobile operator, it currently provides a range of services including mobile network, long-distance, local calling, data communication, Internet services, and IP telephony.