Service reactivation arrangements for deactivated pre-paid SIM cards not having completed real-name registration before deadline
The Government announced today (February 24) that users of pre-paid SIM cards (PPS cards) which have been deactivated for not having completed their real-name registration by the deadline can register to reactivate the service within the validity period of the cards. Such registration can be completed via an electronic registration platform by following the instructions at the hyperlink of the final SMS notification reminder sent by their respective telecommunications service providers just before the registration deadline under the name “SIMREG” (see Annex 1). Users can also complete the relevant procedures at the retail outlets of their respective telecommunications service providers.
Depending on the number of such registrations, the telecommunications service providers are committed to reactivating the service of the PPS cards concerned within a short period of time. Users may need to restart their mobile phones for reactivation of service. They may contact their respective telecommunications service providers for further enquiries.
To assist users in need, the real-name registration service counters set up by the Government at 18 designated post offices (see Annex 2) will continue to provide support service for free until the end of March. Users should bring along their Hong Kong identity card, the PPS card to be registered and their mobile phone, and provide information on the Hong Kong identity cards (including Chinese and English names, date of birth, Hong Kong identity card number and a copy of the identity card) for the registration.
Starting from today, all SIM cards issued and used locally (including SIM service plans and PPS cards) must have their real-name registration completed before activation or continuation of service. A transitional period of around one year from March 1, 2022, to February 23, 2023, had been provided under the real-name registration programme to allow sufficient time for users who wish to continue using their existing PPS cards to complete the registration with their respective telecommunications service providers. As at yesterday, around 12 million SIM cards had completed real-name registration, which was in line with expectations.
The Government notes that users may purchase new PPS cards from time to time due to different promotions or personal needs (such as for back-up, providing additional mobile data, or short-term use by visitors). These users may not choose to register those PPS cards which are no longer in use upon expiry or exhaustion of the pre-set value.
Since the relevant legislation of the real-name registration programme came into force in September 2021, the Government has maintained close liaison with telecommunications service providers and held 18 meetings so far to ensure the smooth implementation of the programme. The telecommunications service providers have also reminded and encouraged PPS card users to complete registration early through different proactive measures and initiatives.
The Government has launched a series of multimedia publicity initiatives in the past year through television (trailers, interviews, featured reports, sitcoms, etc), radio, newspapers, a thematic webpage (www.ofca.gov.hk/simreg), social media platforms, public transportation and district visits, etc to widely promote how to complete real-name registration and appeal to users to register as soon as possible. Publicity materials are also available in eight different languages to cater for the needs of ethnic minorities.
To further enhance the support for users in need, apart from setting up service counters in 18 designated post offices from May 30 last year, the Government also set up support stations at 25 designated MTR stations from late last year. The service counters and support stations have handled over 80 000 enquiries and registrations so far. Separately, the hotline of the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) has handled nearly 10 000 enquiries.
The Government has all along collaborated with different social welfare agencies and district organisations to assist individuals in need (in particular the elderly) to complete real-name registration through home visits, outreach activities and offices of the district organisations. The Government has arranged trainings for volunteers from more than 200 social welfare agencies and district organisations, and conducted more than 25 visits to elderly centres and residential care homes for the elderly to assist elderly persons to complete registration on the spot.
The implementation of the real-name registration programme seeks to plug the loophole arising from the anonymous nature of PPS cards to assist law enforcement agencies in the detection of crimes involving the use of PPS cards, thereby safeguarding the integrity of telecommunications services and the security of the communications networks, as well as law and order.
The Government again thanked the telecommunications service providers and relevant social welfare agencies and district organisations for their full support during the past year or so in implementing this important policy initiative in a concerted manner. The Government will continue to undertake a series of monitoring and enforcement actions with the Communications Authority to ensure the effective implementation of the real-name registration programme.
For more information regarding the real-name registration programme, please visit the thematic webpage (www.ofca.gov.hk/simreg) or call the OFCA’s hotline (2961 6699).