Modern postal service didn't appear in Tibet until the early 20th
century. Out of their need when invading Tibet, the British colonialists
opened a postal service from Yadong to Gyangze in 1904 without the
authorization of the Chinese authorities. In 1909, the Qing court
sent Deng Weiping, an official in charge of postal services, to
Lhasa to make preparations for the establishment of modern postal
stations. In 1910, the Lhasa Office of the Qing Postal Bureau was
set up. In 1925, the local government of Tibet set up post offices
in Qamdo, Xigaze, Gyangze, Parli and Gongbo'gyangda. In the meantime,
cable and wire phone services were opened from Lhasa to Gyangze,
but only for the local government, monasteries and foreign business
Mail was delivered mainly on horseback, and it took at least 29
days to deliver a letter from Chengdu in Sichuan Province to Lhasa.
Such a situation lasted until the opening to traffic of the Sichuan-Tibet
Highway in December 1954.
years of development, the Lanzhou-Xining-Lhasa optical fiber cable
has been installed along with one from Lhasa to Xigaze, Shannan
and Nyingchi. Satellite ground stations have been established in
various localities. Nowadays, the Tibet Autonomous Region has formed
its trunk transmission network composed of optical fiber cables
and satellite ground reception stations that cover the whole region,
and a telecommunication network composed of program controlled exchanges,
commu-nication satellites, digital communi-cations, mobile phone
communi-cations and other advanced means.
In the Tibet Autonomous Region, there are now some 130 post offices.
Postal routes on land total 80,000 km, while postal air routes at
present extend to 650 km. In 2000, postal and telecommunications
services increased by 38.8 percent over the previous year.
All prefectures and counties have access to satellite long-distance
transmission services, which are incorporated into the automatic
long-distance telephone exchanges.
In recent years, the autonomous region built the Lhasa Program Controlled
Telephone Bureau, the Posts and Telecommunications Building, the
900-million honeycomb mobile phone system, a radio paging system
covering five districts, seven IDR satellite ground stations, 73
VSAT satellite communications stations, 1,841 long-distance telephone
lines, and 5,810-line automatic telephone exchanges.
By 2000, the autonomous region had 158,980 telephone lines, with
105,625 subscribers; and 124,000 mobile telephone lines, with 46,000
subscribers. The telephone penetration rate has reached 4.3 phones
per 100 people; although it is much higher, 22.6 phones per 100
people, in the cities. In addition, there are eight radio paging
companies, with some 50,000 subscribers.
The region's volume of postal service reached 283.98 million Yuan
in 2000. The Region plans to install optical fiber cables for all
prefectures (cities) in 2003, and for all counties in 2005. The
goal is for all counties to have access to telephone service in
Lhasa has been incorporated into the international and domestic
automatic telephone network. Direct dial telephone service reaches
all parts of China and 180 countries and regions in the world. Telex
service is also available.
Lhasa has also developed express mail services with close to 200
cities in China. There are two international postal routes leading
the autonomous region to neighboring countries via Xigaze Prefecture's
Zham and Yadong.