Wireless subscribers in China must provide identification from today to purchase a new number, press agency AFP reports, citing local media. The new regulations also apply to foreigners and those wishing to purchase a pre-paid SIM card, the China Daily and Global Times reported, citing sources at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Those with existing mobile subscriptions will be asked to register with their carriers before 2013, or their subscriptions could be cancelled. Street newspaper stands will be banned from selling SIM cards until the owners are trained on how to register customers, the report added.
The new rules are part of the Chinese government's efforts to prevent spam, pornographic messages and rampant fraud over the country's vast mobile networks, MIIT spokesman Wang Lijian told the China Daily. China had 814 million mobile phone users at the end of July, MIIT officials told the press, with up to 320 million users not yet registered.