Visitors to China, buying a prepaid SIM card or registering for a mobile phone number, are now required to show their passport or other forms of identification, officials of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced recently.
The three telecommunications service providers in China – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – have been instructed to start the identity registration process for new users. Newspaper kiosks have been told to stop selling prepaid SIM cards until their owners have learn to conduct the proper registration process.
The move, according to the government, aims to curb mobile phone crime, pornographic messages and spam texts as it enables authorities to monitor usage.
A spam mobile message complaint centre reported on August 23, 2010, that mobile phone users in China received 43.3 text messages weekly on average, 12 of which were found to be spam.
Further details of the new policy will be disclosed at a later date.