With 5G coming, will 4G networks become slower?
VCG Photo

VCG Photo

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Thursday dispelled online rumors that telecom carriers were limiting the Internet speed of 4G mobile networks to promote 5G, saying such a thing would not happen. 

Wen Ku, director of the Department of Communications of MIIT, said that the ministry had never and would not ask carriers to lower or limit the speed of 4G. The official also said that the department would further strengthen supervision to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.

According to Wen, the MIIT has been monitoring the speed of 4G networks nationwide using technical methods, and the data collected showed that the average speed of 4G networks in China has improved steadily, reaching 23.78 Mbps in July. And there has been no obvious decline in the overall rate, he added.

According to experts, the 4G speeds experienced by users on their mobile phones are affected by multiple factors.

Technically, a 4G network is shared, and all users accessing the same base station share the bandwidth resources. Therefore, the actual speed experienced by a user fluctuates within a range, depending on how many users are accessing the network simultaneously.

Official data showed that the number of 4G users in China reached 1.24 billion, accounting for 78.3 percent of the total mobile phone users. There may be cases where there are too many users and the temporary rates get lower, especially in user-intensive areas like railway stations.

Besides, Chinese users are consuming more and more mobile data over the past couple of years, thanks to the rapid development of mobile video services and the significant drop in the cost. The ever increasing data traffic may also be a cause behind the slower data speed some users feel sometimes.