Kunming Huayang Academy for Language and Culture


How to get the 3G / EDGE / GPRS work?

daixiya (8 posts) •


I've been trying to get the 3G connection working on my Samsung Galaxy. Since I have failed so far I hope there is someone here who has some good advice.

I've already found out that my phone is only supporting W-CDMA, my provider China Mobile, however, works with TD-SCMA. Is there any other way to get online with my phone using China Mobile? How do I activate EDGE? GPRS? I read that I maybe have to change the APN on my phone. I tried but also this is not really helping. The "Roaming" sign is continuously switched on...

Apart from that, how big is the difference between EDGE and 3G? Is it worth changing to China Unicom?

Thank you so much for any help!!!

laotou (1174 posts) •

Sounds like your phone is backward compatible to GSM as China Mobile's legacy network is GSM with the data supporting GPRS/EDGE, which means you can NOT use China Mobile's 3G-TD-SCDMA network with your mobile phone (and some pundits say data still sucks using China Mobile's alleged 3G phones). The solution is a TWO-STEP process as follows.

The APN is: cmnet

Upper/lower case - doesn't matter.

Don't need anything else as far as software settings go, EXCEPT you'll probably need to manually turn OFF or disable the 3G mode on your mobile, if such a thing is possible - should be a software setting somewhere.

If you haven't activated data on your China Mobile BILLING plan...go to an official store WITH YOUR ID (e.g. passport) and pay/pre-pay the data plan fee. I think you can still get 2GB of EDGE data for ¥100. You MAY be able to do this via the appropriate SMS to the China Mobile service center - but I've never found this painless process for Kunming - so off to one of the myriad China Mobile stores you go.

EDGE is typically only available in the inner city and the older high density suburbs. The speed difference on similarly loaded networks should be about 10:1 on a good day - depends on a multitude of things and I'm too lazy to give a technical dissertation on 3G.

If all this sounds painful...well, it is.

I switched to WCDMA/Unicom recently as have most of my data hogging peers - but that probably has something to do with the iPhone 4 promo. Data coverage is not so bad and getting better. The speed is snappy compared to China Mobile's EDGE network, which looks really crappy compared to 3G.

One note - China Mobile merged with China Railroad (Tietong) Telecom - which had a 2% market share in the broadband market - which basically means their broadband pipe is ... asthmatic. So, even if you have great signal - during prime time their internet pipe is a bottleneck.

China Unicom M&A'd with China Netcom (major competitor to China Telecom) - which was the #1 or 2 (depending on where you are in China) provider of broadband and fixed line services. Their internet pipe is BIG - comparable to China Telecoms.

Like I said - it's complicated - that and all the providers lie (a lot) about various things as they're all trying to delay heavy 3G infrastructure investment in favor of LTE, which according to NTT (Japan) can now achieve GIGABIT download speeds, so they're all fixing the various weaknesses in their infrastructure. China Mobile's buying more broadband pipe, Unicom is looking for more cell sites, and Telecom hates that they got stuck with CDMA (US standard) - they're also trying to densify their cell sites.


daixiya (8 posts) •

Wow, what an amazingly fast answer! Thank you very much!

So I can cancel my 3G-subscription and buy EDGE data instead. Since I am an absolute newcomer to this topic, how much is 2GB? I am only here for a couple of months and it sounds like a lot (especially since the service is so slow...)!

Dan Siekman (102 posts) •

2GB is two gigabytes...the subscription is on a monthly basis with no rollover of unused data from month to month (somebody can correct me if I'm wrong on that one).

You can also pay 20 yuan/month for a smaller amount of data (50 megabytes?) if your needs are not so high.

laotou (1174 posts) •

You may cancel your 3G sub with China Mobile OR go buy a 3G-TD phone. Usually when you sign up for a subscription in CHina - you can get a phone tossed in if you prepay the entire contract - example apple iphone 4 - prepay ¥7k - get the phone "free".

Seems like kind of a waste is you're gonna dump your 3G-TD and buy a new SIM/Mobile number. Suggest you just switch to Unicom 3G - then you can use your swanky 3G phone with the 3G data plan. I think the prices are remotely similar for Unicom 3G vs Mobile 2/3G.

In your case - dumping the 3G sub means you'll probably have to get a new sim card with a new phone number - it's a simple billing thing to swap the numbers but that would be too complicated for China Mobile robots - so it's simpler to just get a new sim card & number. Maybe you can sell your 3G-TD sim online or sell it back to a store (doubtful).

Don't forget to go to the china mobile store and activate your data plan - whichever you choose. For the record, I bought the 2GB prepay chunks for ¥100 and it seems to last 2-3 months although it's supposed to self destruct at the end of every month. I've only used 400MB and I tanked up in Nov - still going strong - but EDGE is kind of crappy slow here.

daixiya (8 posts) •

Hey guys,

I am sorry, but I am confused... I activated the GPRS on my phone (% kuai a month for 30M). I changed the APN to cmnet. It's still not working. Is it possible that I have to jailbreak the phone??? Or change anything else?

Thank you!!!

Mars316 (24 posts) •

call 10086, say you want to get your phone NO.'s GPRS work, then the service centre will send you a message about how to change the phone seetings, something like rejected goods post above.

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