China requires mobile customers to show ID

Robert Clark
01 Sep 2010

After years of trying, China has launched its “real-name registration system” for telecom customers.

From today, customers will be required to show their ID when buying a prepaid mobile phone service from one of the three carriers, China Daily has reported.

Existing customers will need to register their ID when they change their service plans or port to new numbers.

The ability of consumers to buy prepaid mobile SIM card without any ID for the past decade has been a rare gap in China’s extensive system of surveillance of network users.

Previous attempts by security agencies and the MIIT to introduce the registration system have foundered because of technical difficulties. It requires rolling it out to the tens of thousands of retail stores around the country that are the prime channels for SIM card sales.

Under the new rules, street newspaper stands will be banned from selling SIM cards until further notice, China Daily said.

It said the new rules were aimed at curbing “spam, pornographic messages and fraud on cellular phones.”

China has approximately 800 million mobile customers, the vast majority of whom are prepaid users.

The State Council Information Office announced the new rules on August 20.


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