CHINA / Regional

China Mobile branch cracks down on SMS abusers
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-11 09:58

China Mobile's branch in Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province, has cancelled the service of 19,000 mobile phone subscribers who are found to have abused the short message service (SMS) in the past six months.

Fraudulent messages designed to get people to give out their financial information or remit money have been a popular tool to cheat mobile phone users nationwide.

Last October, the company established a hot line for cell phone subscribers to report junk messages. Users in Zhuhai could transfer the suspect message texts and the sender's number to 01820.

"Once we get seven or more complaints for one number, we'd cut off its SMS function so it won't be able to send any more harmful messages," Tuesday's China Daily quoted Yang Kaixiong, chief manager for customer service, as saying.

Meanwhile, the company employed 36 people to supervise its contracted Internet service providers (ISP).

Some of China Mobile's contracted ISPs violated rules by sending messages to lure users to use their paid services, according to Yang. "If we receive more than 50 complaints concerning the same ISP, we instantly terminate the cooperation and report it to provincial headquarters," he was quoted as saying.

At least 44 ISPs have been found to violate the regulations, and 24 of them were expected to lose their contracts, he added.

But Yang's company could not take action against ISPs or mobile phone users from outside the province.

"Such isolated efforts can't crack down on illegal SMS senders, " Shen Xiaoli, a mobile phone subscriber in Shenzhen, was quoted as saying. "Cheaters can be anywhere in the country, so the mobile operators should launch the campaign to cover the entire network."

By the end of 2005, China's mobile phone subscribers totaled 393.4 million and the Ministry of Information Industry has predicted the number will reach 440 million this year.