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China Practically Unreachable By Western SMS? 258

Ainsy writes "A friend of mine recently began a placement as an English pronunciation teacher in China. She has picked up a pay-as-you go sim for use over there, only to discover that China seems to have been almost completely overlooked by international communications agreements, specifically from the UK. A bit of snooping tells me that Vodafone is the only network from which it is possible to send SMS to a Chinese registered mobile phone. SMS in China is upscaling massively, and is incredibly cheap currently — even 'premium' SMS info services cost 1 Yuan (that's just £0.081 GBP). I'm curious why such a large section of the world market is cut off from the west's wireless communication networks especially with the recent Olympics putting the spotlight on the nation in general. China mobile is the world's largest carrier ranked by subscriber base (415 million) and isn't even the only carrier to operate in China). There are a few websites around from which SMS can be sent to China for a fee but this is of only limited use when on the move. Can anyone tell me why this situation has come about and when we can expect this sort of service to be enabled?"

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