“Unicom opened a 5g package of 239 yuan per month without my knowledge.”
“Received several customer service threats to do 5g package calls: do not increase 5g network speed will slow down, the package will be more expensive in the future.”
“After refusing to upgrade the 5g package, 4G, which has been used for many years, suddenly slowed down.”
Recently, the discussion of “speed down 4G to promote 5g” has once again become the focus of public opinion. In addition to the problem of network speed, consumers also said that they were “threatened” to run 5g packages “,” unknowingly opened 5g packages “and” it is difficult to go back to 4G packages after upgrading 5g packages “.
It is often seen. Last year, make complaints about social platforms. For example, in Zhihu, he asked, “is it true that 4G has been slowed down in order to push 5g?” Most of the answers were from users who complained about the slow speed of 4G network based on their own experience.
Is 4G network speed slowing down? Recently, Sohu technology selected four locations, namely Peking University, National Library, Olympic Forest Park and Zhongguancun bank network center, to measure the 4G network speed of three major operators. Sohu technology compared the speed measurement data with the data around 2014 and found that 4G network speed slowed down in some areas and certain periods, but there was no overall decline in 4G network speed.
Some people think that in order to promote 5g package, operators limit 4G speed for users who refuse to upgrade 5g package. However, many experts told Sohu technology that this is difficult to achieve from a technical point of view: “the distribution of user traffic by operators is a batch process, and it is impossible to limit the 4G speed of a user who has just refused to upgrade the 5g package. Each operator serves hundreds of millions of users and is very strict in user management. “
4G network speed measurement of three major operators: the network speed in some areas slows down
“The Ministry of industry and information technology has not received any notice on reducing or limiting the user’s 4G network speed, nor has it reduced the user’s 4G network speed.” Previously, the three major operators also responded that they did not slow down the 4G network.
However, on various network platforms, there have been users constantly reflecting the relevant questions, “is 4G network speed slow in the end?” It seems to have become a Rashomon incident.
Recently, Sohu technology selected four locations, namely Peking University, National Library, Olympic Forest Park and Zhongguancun bank network center, to measure the 4G network speed of three major operators.
In the process of testing in each location, Sohu technology has tested each operator’s 4G network for an average of six times. After removing the significant differences, the remaining numbers are taken as the median, and the total number of samples is 144 test results.
(drawing: Sohu Technology)
It can be seen from the test results that the 4G network speeds of the same operator in different locations are significantly different. For example, the 4G download speed of China Telecom in the national library is 79.2 Mbps, while the 4G download speed of China Telecom in Zhongguancun bank network center is only 6.85 Mbps. This is far lower than the national average download rate of 4G Mobile bandwidth. According to the report on China’s broadband rate in the third quarter of 2019, the average download rate of China’s mobile broadband users using 4G network to access the Internet reaches 24.02mbps.
Moreover, even in the same place and at the same time, the 4G network speeds of different operators are very different. For example, in Zhongguancun bank network center, the 4G download rate of China Mobile is 42.49 Mbps, that of China Telecom is 6.85 Mbps, and that of China Unicom is 5.35 Mbps.
As for the horizontal comparison difference in the speed measurement process, many experts said that it may be affected by the deployment of the base station, the number of speed measurement personnel, the version and model of speed measurement software and other factors. “In the whole speed measurement link, it may be affected by various factors, such as the number of speed measurement personnel at the same time. If you are the only one to test, the test server will be idle, and the speed measurement will be invisible It’s going to be quick. ” Fu Liang, a communications analyst, told Sohu technology.
Compared with the data around 2014, it is found that the 4G network speed has not declined as a whole, but the network speed has slowed down in some areas. For example, in the Olympic Forest Park, the 4G download rate of Telecom is 47mbps in 2014 and 31.8mbps in 2020.
Of course, there are some places where the download rate will be faster in 2020. For example, in Zhongguancun bank network center, the 4G download rate of China Mobile in 2013 is 33.05mbps, while that in 2020 is 42.49mbps.
(drawing: Sohu technology, data source: Zhongguancun Online and other media)
According to the data of the Ministry of industry and information technology in 2019, compared with five years ago, the average download rate of mobile broadband increased by about six times. As for the phenomenon that the speed measurement results of this time are not significantly different from those of six years ago, Fu Liang told Sohu technology that after completing the initial coverage, the operators’ subsequent optimization is mainly aimed at some areas with poor coverage, so in the areas where coverage has been completed at the beginning, the increase of network speed will not be very obvious.
From the results of this field speed measurement, there is a situation that 4G network speed slows down in some areas and a certain period of time, but overall, 4G network speed has not decreased. This also confirms the previous response of the Ministry of industry and information technology: “in recent years, the national 4G average download rate has continued to increase, and there is no obvious decline in the overall rate.”
At the same time, the speed measurement of some users in a certain location shows that the 4G network speed is declining, which is difficult to explain the decline of the overall 4G network speed. Zhang Chi, a communication expert, told Sohu science and technology: “the representative significance of single speed measurement is not very great. Even if all the influencing factors are strictly controlled, it can only show that it is the problem of a certain base station, not the problem of 5.4 million base stations.”
The rapid growth of traffic demand makes 4G network “overburdened”
And so many complaints and feedback also show that the slow down of 4G network speed in some regions and certain periods of time has caused trouble to many users, but this is not because operators take the initiative to slow down the 4G network, but mainly because the growth of 4G user traffic and network support capacity are not fully matched.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of industry and information technology, as of the end of August, the number of 4G users was 1.29 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 2.6%, accounting for 80.7% of the total number of mobile phone users.
The proportion of 4G users has reached about 80%, and it is still growing. At the same time, the average monthly traffic of users is still growing at a high speed, especially the average monthly traffic of 4G users. In the first half of 2019, the Dou (average monthly Internet traffic) of 4G users of China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom are 7.1gb, 7GB and 7.3GB respectively, while at the end of 2017, the Dou of 4G users of China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom are only 1.8GB, 4.5gb and 2GB.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of industry and information technology, the average household mobile Internet access traffic reached 11.25gb/household in August, up 30.3% year on year. From January to August, the cumulative mobile Internet traffic reached 103.9 billion GB, up 33.7% year on year. From the monthly Dou growth from 2014 to 2019, we can also see the trend of user traffic demand soaring.
On the one hand, the popular network applications in recent two years consume too much traffic, such as short video, live broadcast, ultra high definition video and so on. On the other hand, Zhang Chi told Sohu science and technology: “4G network is a limited resource and should be calculated and used. Affected by the 4G speed increase and fee reduction, we are not willing to use WiFi and will use 4G traffic to download big movies, which will result in waste of traffic and unreasonable application of bandwidth. “
Because 5g construction is not mature and coverage is not comprehensive, for example, there are few 5g signal coverage in transportation and office buildings. “Many users of 5g packages also use 4G networks where there is no 5g signal, and the average traffic of 5g users is more than half that of 4G, which will also cause great pressure on 4G networks.” Fu Liang told Sohu technology.
Therefore, the rapid growth of traffic demand makes 4G network “overburdened”, but 4G network has no matching capital investment support. Fu Liang said, “for operators, 4G was the main investor last year. This year’s 4G investment is very conservative, and they try to transfer the money to 5g as much as possible.”
(drawing: Sohu technology, data source: financial report of operators)
According to the plan, the 5g capital expenditure of the three major operators will increase significantly, and the proportion of investment will increase from about 14% in 2019 to more than 50% in 2020. It should be noted that the total planned capital expenditure of operators has not increased significantly, so the significant increase of 5g investment means the decrease of 4G investment.
The decrease in the proportion of 4G base stations is a manifestation. According to the data of the Ministry of industry and information technology, there are 4.45 million 4G base stations in China in June 2019, accounting for 60.8%; by the end of 2019, the total number of 4G base stations in China will reach 5.44 million, accounting for 64.7%; by the end of June 2020, the total number of 4G base stations will be 5.6 million, accounting for 63.9%.
In addition, some insiders said that in order to reduce costs and allocate funds for 5g construction, operators will abolish some 4G base stations, which will lead to the intermittent 4G signals.
Why not continue to build 4G on a large scale? Fu Liang believes that “operators are also very helpless, because in a few months, when the 5g network is ready, users will gradually transfer their traffic to 5g. If they still maintain large-scale investment in 4G network now, it will be a waste after users leave.”
Promotion of 5g package is not profitable, 4G network speed will be faster in the future
At the end of 2019, Li Zhengmao, general manager of China Telecom, said in public that 5g development is facing three major problems: 5g has higher frequency and shorter wavelength than 4G, so 5g needs three times the number of 4G base stations to achieve 4G signal coverage; because of higher frequency, 5g base stations will consume three times as much power as 4G base stations; the construction cost of 5g base stations is three times as much as 4G base stations.
The cost of 5g is still high. Some people think that in order to promote 5g package, operators limit 4G speed for users who refuse to upgrade 5g package. However, many experts believe that this is almost not operable from a technical point of view: “the distribution of user traffic by operators is a batch process, and it is impossible to speed limit 4G for a user who has just refused to upgrade the 5g package. Each operator serves hundreds of millions of users and is very strict in user management. “
“There is no potential for Internet fees to be tapped. In the future, the proportion of Internet users’ Internet fees will be less and less, and the network may become welfare oriented. If operators want to recover their capital, they mainly rely on the development of industrial Internet, customize 5g services for enterprises, and earn money for enterprises.”
Zhang Chi told Sohu science and technology that for operators, compared with the huge investment of 5g, the package charges only make up a small part, “now most of the people who buy 5g packages originally buy 4G high traffic packages, which is equivalent to the money taken out of the left pocket in the right pocket.”
As for the statement that “if you don’t increase the 5g network speed, it will slow down, and the package will be more expensive in the future”, Fu Liang said: “this may be a kind of rhetoric, scaring you to use 5g, because if you successfully persuade users to upgrade the 5g package, customer service can get money, but most telemarketers are not operators.”
In addition, there are 4G data measured by some users The network speed is very high, but the actual download speed is very low. This may be because some content providers have speed restrictions. “For financial reasons, many software, game and video providers only purchase limited physical servers or cloud servers. In order to save electricity and other expenses, their download speed is strictly limited, and only support single thread download.”
At present, the network construction is in the transitional stage, 5g network construction is not mature, user traffic demand is still growing at a high speed, 4G and part of 5g traffic demand are “pressed” on the 4G network, so the 4G network speed slows down in some areas and a certain period of time, which intensifies the contradiction between users and operators.
But with the acceleration of 5g construction process, the coverage of 5g network is wider and 5g terminals are further popularized. When more and more 4G users gradually transfer to 5g network, with the decrease of 4G network utilization, 4G network speed will naturally go up, and the user’s network experience will be improved.
Editor in charge ajx