China is Changing Public Telephone Booths into Wifi Hotspots

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I’ve just read an interesting article in the local media.  It said China is going to change its public telephone booths into Wi-Fi hotspots.  (Here is the article:

If that is the case, it will be great.  Firstly, ever since mobile phones became popular, the use of  public telephone booths is getting less and less.  The article said in some area of Guangdong, a telephone booth gets less than one person to use it in a day.  That is really a waste of resource, considering it has to be maintained regularly.

Secondarily, Chinese 3G services (no matter provided by China Mobile, China Unicom or China Telecom) are still slow and patchy.  With Wi-Fi hotspots to complement them, the user experience can be much better.  (I am personally on China Unicom’s 3G services for my mobile phone, and I am not very happy about it.)  Telephone booths, which are dotted in every corners of the streets, seems the perfect places for Wi-Fi hotspots.  At least for the cities.

The article mentioned, besides of telephone booths, the telecom operators are also trying to setup hotspots in restaurants, hotels, sport facilities, and so on.    If the idea is really implemented, they will turn every city in China into a giant Wi-Fi network for fast internet connection.

For me, as a user, the more hotspots the merrier.  Even better if their services are free.

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. ( She previously was the lead China technology reporter for South China Morning Post, one of Asia’s largest English-language daily newspapers. Her work allowed her to witness the rise of China’s Internet sector first hand and to talk to many of the entrepreneurs and industry experts. Currently she is an independent consultant and writer. She regularly writes on issues concerning China internet and technologies in Asia Times and Hong Kong Economic Journal. She graduated at the University of Hong Kong before earning a MBA at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.