We all know that data roaming charges can apply when you use your smartphone abroad -- but in China, people also need to pay more when they travel across provinces.

For instance, if you signed up for mobile service in Shanghai, it could cost you more to check your email or surf the web on your phone in Beijing.

That is set to change on July 1, when the country’s three dominant telecom companies -- China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom -- plan to get rid of domestic data roaming charges for good.

According to China’s Broadband Development Alliance, more than 85% of the population use mobile broadband. (Picture: AP Photo)

To boost China’s cyber strength, Premier Li Keqiang has been pushing the “big three” network operators to make it faster and cheaper for people to browse the internet.

They’re also expanding 4G coverage to give everyone access to services like streaming and mobile payment -- whether they live in the wealthy coastal cities or the inner hinterlands.

It’s especially important for the poorest rural regions, where the mobile internet is just starting to transform lives. Thanks to affordable smartphones, more people are getting their first taste of the internet economy, using apps to shop online or pay for goods offline.

It’s also extending beyond China’s borders. Last year, China Mobile slashed roaming charges for travelers to more than 60 countries and regions identified by China under its One Belt One Road initiative. Under the ambitious infrastructure plan, the country wants to build a sprawling network of roads, ports, railways, and airports across Eurasia and Africa.