Cell phone numbers have always been easy to get hold of here in China. You could go to your local branch of China Unicom or China Mobile and get one there, pop along to the local convenience store and grab one with your instant noodles or pick one up at those little kiosk’s you sometimes find dotted around towns.
From Wednesday (tomorrow) however the process of getting a new number might become a little less convienent due to to legistlations requiring new customers to provide their real name and proof of who they are.
The new laws will affect only new customers to begin with, but the government plan to have old phone number owners registered with their real details within 3 years. Interestingly though, a government source claimed that any existing customer not releasing their real details will not be punished and will still continue to be provided with a phone service!? Which could be why China Unicom are planning to reward existing owners with gifts if they come forward and provide their real information quickly.
Phone users are split on the new requirements with some thinking their personal information might be used in ways against their interest, with others beliving the new law could wipe out spam text messages and phone calls, and could eventually lead to a better standard of service.