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Mobile users can soon switch carriers, but keep numbers

Zhu Shenshen
The new service is meant to make the telecoms market more competitive. Nationwide roll-out is scheduled for the end of November.
Zhu Shenshen

China will allow all mobile users to switch carriers while retaining their existing phone numbers starting next month, officials said on Wednesday.

The switching service had previously been tested on the provincial level, and final nationwide tests are currently wrapping up, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The service will officially be available nationwide by the end of November, according to the ministry.

The carrier switch policy, mentioned by Premier Li Keqiang early this year, offers consumers more choices and makes the telecommunications market more fair and competitive.

In the past, most consumers have not been able to retain their existing mobile numbers if they wanted to change carriers. Many tolerated high prices or unsatisfactory services with their existing carriers to continue using their numbers.

Anyone wanting to switch operators can do so once their current contract ends and if they have no outstanding bills, local officials said.

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