Wi-Fi broadband operates on the same principle as your wireless router at home.
Wi-Fi broadband on the move is often faster and more reliable than a 3G broadband connection picked up on your mobile phone or via a dongle.
Network: China Telecom uses a CDMA network which is incompatible virtually all phones purchased outside China. It has 3G / HSPA that works with international mobile phones and the coverage is almost as good as the leader, China Mobile.
If you are thinking of purchasing a phone that only works in China (why you would do that, I have no idea), then I guess you could look at China Telecom. China Mobile has a weird 3G CDMA standard that works mostly with phones purchased in China.
China Unicom is the clear winner for us because the 4G and 3G bands are most compatible with foreign phones.
Here’s a basic pre-paid SIM card plan from China Unicom: China Unicom To buy the SIM card, go to any China Unicom storefront, or a mobile phone vendor. If you go to an official China Unicom store, usually someone will speak English, or just point to the brochure where it lists “3G Plan A, 66RMB”. To load more credit simply go to any convenience store and purchase a top up card.
Most Unicom storefronts also have a direct electronic system, just give them some cash and your phone number and they will deposit the credit to your account.
I like to be flexible so I tend to stay away from contracts. A VPN will be necessary when you are travelling or living in China since most everything (gmail, google, youtube, facebook, instagram) is blocked in the Mainland (Hong Kong is unblocked).
A China VPN service will offer apps for your computer and smartphone that will allow you to get around the censored internet while in China.
The largest mobile carrier with about 70% market share. So even if you for some unknown reason find yourself out in rural-nowhere China, you might not be able to find a real toilet, but at least you will still be able to get a SIM card there. Coverage: China Unicom coverage is not as extensive as China Mobile, but is still very good.