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China to register all mobile users

Register or lose your phone service, government says. Mandate intended to stop wirelessly distributed antigovernment sentiment?

China is to require all of its mobile-phone users to register their details with cellular providers or lose their connection. While all prepay users already register personal information with their operators for billing purposes, the new requirement from the Chinese Ministry of Information could affect hundreds of millions of pay-as-you-go users.

According to reports, the government has instated the edict to cut telephone fraud and illegal SMS services, which distribute forbidden content, including pornography. The new rule is expected to come into force before the end of this year, with users who fail to register eventually seeing their cell phone service cut off. Concerns have been raised that the government intends to use the edict to stop antigovernment sentiment distributed via mobiles.

Jo Best of reported from London.