Build a 4G premium network
China Unicom proactively implements the network superpower national strategy and speeds up the building of a high quality 4G network with emphasis on customer perception and market demand. By focusing on key businesses, key regions and indoor coverage, we strive to build a quality network with "faster speed, more extensive coverage and better perception", so as to let our customers enjoy more pleasant experience, more relieved consumption and more dedicated services. In 2016, China Unicom invested RMB25.9 billion in its 4G network with a net increase of 340,000 4G base stations, bringing the total number of 4G base stations to 740,000. We completed coverage construction in the urban and county areas. Our campus coverage rate reached 95%. Our coverage over the towns and villages in Eastern China reached 95% and that over transport lines such as trans-provincial high-speed railways and airport expressways reached approximately 90%.
China Unicom has built a sizable 4G+ network. Downlink and uplink network speeds are 1.4 times and 5 times of the industry average respectively. Communication latency has been lowered to 10ms-ish level, and the quality of voice calls is on par with the industry average. China Unicom ranked top in the performance tests conducted by China Broadband Development Alliance, Deutsche Bank, SOHO China, Thunder and China Railway, etc.
Investment in network construction
In 2016, the Company preliminarily realised continuous coverage of 4G network in cities, counties, towns and administrative villages with population aggregation; the proportion of ports at 20M or above in cities reached 82%, and ports at 8M or above in rural areas reached 99%. China Unicom built two large-scale data centers in Hohhot and Gui’an, two cloud computing resource pools in Guangxi and Ningxia, and expanded three cloud computing resource pools in Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Chongqing.
Accelerate the construction of fixed-line network
China Unicom upholds the craftsman spirits and strives to create a high-quality broadband network for customers with good coverage and fast connection speed. It implements differentiated broadband construction strategies for Southern and Northern China, strengthens social cooperation and pays attention to the improvement of the port utilisation rate. The quality and capability of its broadband network have improved through meticulous construction and optimisation.
Speed up "all fibre network" construction
In 2016, the Company recorded a net increase of broadband access ports of 15.27 million, and achieved "all fibre network" in all 10 provinces in Northern China, with the number of "all fibre network" cities reaching 139. 89% of ports in urban areas have access speed of 20M or above and 99% of ports in rural areas have access speed of 4M or above. There was a significant improvement in customer perception. We also accelerated free broadband speed upgrade. The nationwide average fixed-line broadband access speed amounted to approximately 30M, and broadband users with an access speed of 20M or above accounted for 75% of the total number of broadband users and the proportion of broadband users with an access speed of 50M or above reached 36%.
Strengthen backbone network construction
The Company deployed in scale 400G platform routers and 100G high bandwidth circuits, continuously pushed forward the construction of directly connected nodes in the backbone network to enhance interconnection, and proactively expanded its broadband capacity. In 2016, the Company’s domestic backbone bandwidth reached 170T, its domestic interconnection bandwidth reached 2,881G, and its international gateway bandwidth reached 1,711G.
Implement transmission system capacity expansion
During 2016, the Company expanded the capacity of the transmission system by 100T and accordingly added 490 new 100G end-to-end circuits to support the high speed service for our customers. The network speed and other technical performance indicators of the 169 Backbone Network were further improved with intra-network latency ranking the first among operators in an evaluation by MIIT. The 600G expansion for the International inbound and outbound capacity has been completed, resulting in a significant improvement in the international inbound and outbound network capability. The Company pushed forward the construction of international data cache system and became the first among the three operators to complete the construction, take delivery and commence operation of the system. As a result, it achieved an international data cache capacity of over 180G.