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China Mobile Madness E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Mia Duncan
If you were asked to name an invention which has changed the way we live today, you would probably answer with either the car, the computer or the mobile phone. The mobile phone is my topic for this post! First, there is no difference between a "Mobile" and a "Cellular" telephone. They are merely different names given to the same object.

I purchased my first mobile phone way back in 1996. At that time the mobile market was just beginning to flourish, with much smaller, compact devices being manufactured. But still you could only really use them for making voice calls. However all that was about to change because also in 1996 a new service was introduced which quickly became popular. The S-M-S.

The Short Message Service completely changed the way we used our telephones. It meant we no longer needed to talk on the phone. All we had to do was type the message using "text' and send it to the number of our choice. It was so simple!

After that came the camera phone and more recently it has become possible to link your mobile phone to your computer and even go online, direct from your handset!  MP3 files can now be saved in your phone too. So the mobile phone has become more than just a means to communicate. It is our own personal entertainment centre.

Some people now love their mobile phone to the point of complete obsession. They carry it with them all the time. They constantly look at it, for new messages, or they have it connected to their ear via a headset, so they are able to answer the call, whatever they are doing! There is no doubt, the mobile phone is now an essential part of modern life

China set up it's Cellular network around 1997, but it took a couple of years for it to really take off. This was mainly due to the high cost of purchasing a handset. By 2000, China had virtually caught up with all the technology and had successfully seduced millions of Chinese to hook up to their networks. The main cellular companies in China are "China Unicom" and "China Mobile". There is also CNC which deals with landline and cable services, but now they also supply a "Local" mobile service, which is cheaper to both buy and use.

Is it cheap to use a mobile in China?

Yes and no is the answer. To use most of the services, you simply buy a SIM card and top the account up with a "scratch" card. The cards can be purchased for 50 and 100 Yuan. You have a choice of  either the basic service or GPRS. The cost of making a call has to be the most controversial and annoying thing about owning a mobile phone in China! This is because if you make a call then of course you pay a charge. However, the terrible thing here in China is that the person who receives the call also must pay a charge! So the mobile companies make money from both making and receiving calls. Some people find this very unfair.

"In the UK and EU there is no fee for taking a call."

Needless to say that the Mobile phone is here to stay and with the largest active user population in the world, China looks unstoppable. I use my cellphone here for both work and leisure! I often receive SMS messages from friends and even from people who I do not know. I have to admit, it would be pretty hard for me to live without my mobile phone from now on. Oh sorry...I must go now...I have a call !!

Oh, and...last but least:

Yes, this is a real (crazy) mobile phone made by chinese manufacturer Shanzhai...Only in China...

Our valuable Editor Mia Duncan has been with us since Wednesday, 21 July 2010.

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0 #1 carlos 2010-08-24 00:56

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