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SIM card ID rules flouted

CITY vendors are selling cellphone SIM cards without asking customers for identity details, as required by law, a Shanghai Daily investigation has discovered.

A real-name registration policy was introduced more than a year ago to tackle cellphone scamming.

Shanghai Daily found that in one grocery in Zhabei District China Mobile's pre-paid SIM cards are available from 50 yuan (US$7.80) to 100 yuan, without any identification documents being required.

And some vendors selling pre-paid SIM cards at online shopping site Taobao do not ask buyers for their ID card.

Instead, they use fake names and ID card numbers automatically generated by software that are accepted by telecom operators' systems.

A Taobao vendor, who asked not to be named, told Shanghai Daily that telecom operators asked distributors of SIM cards to register ID card information, but do not carry out inspections afterward.

The seller said this is because operators - as well as vendors - do not want registration rules to affect sales.

There is still no strict implementation of rules stipulating each phone number must be connected with one genuine ID card. Some observers claim this is also why vendors don't bother to register buyers' identification.

But signing up for a 3G SIM card package with China Telecom or China Unicom does require an identification card as these deals are only available at operators' outlets.

"Real-name registration is difficult to implement initially, due to China's huge migrant population," said Xiang Ligang, an independent telecoms industry observer.


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