Chinese telcos impose harsh rules to push real-name SIM registration

Telecommunication firms in China have unveiled stringent rules regarding unregistered phone numbers to support the country's crack down on phone scams and harassing text messages.

Chinese telecom companies have recently announced detailed plans to force all phone users to register their real names and identity card information.

In Guangdong province, telecom firms will suspend a phone number if the SIM card holder fails to register the number with their real-name within three months after a notice, according to a Sina news report on Thursday.

The suspended number will become void permanently once the SIM card holder fails to register after an additional three months.

Apart from phone numbers, fixed phone numbers, internet broadband and other telecom related businesses are all required to supply real-name identification.

As the consumer pool is extremely huge, Guangdong telcos, such as WeChat, will provide easier access and concessional incentives to assist their clients with registering their identity information on a timely basis, according to the report.

The detailed plan for pushing forward real-name registration was initiated by Guangdong province after China's top planner vowed to implement a tougher real-name registration system for phone numbers, starting September 1.

The campaign aims to cut off criminals' access to unregistered cards, as most of the commonly seen telecom crimes were conducted via unregistered prepaid cards.

Over 130 million SIM cards in China are unregistered and a number of them have been utilised by criminals to conduct telecom fraud, according to another Chinese report.

In 2010, the Ministry of Industry in China launched a campaign to implement a real-name registration system for phone users. The new round this year is considered stricter than ever, as telecom firms that fail to support the campaign will also face fines from the government, according to the report.


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