New telecoms law approved

June 1, 2021

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Chief Executive in Council has approved the enactment of a new regulation to implement the Real-name Registration Programme for Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Cards. 


Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau told reporters today that the Telecommunications (Registration of SIM Cards) Regulation seeks to facilitate the prevention and detection of crimes related to the use of pre-paid SIM (PPS) cards.


Under the registration programme, SIM card users are required to provide personal information including their names, identity document numbers and date of birth, as well as a copy of the identity document for registration.


Corporate users should provide a copy of their business registration certificate as well as the personal information of a responsible person for registration.


Mr Yau said the Government has proposed some refinements after considering all the feedback received during a seven-week public consultation in January.


“We have in fact done (an) extensive consultation, both with the Legislative Council and among the political parties. We also held various stakeholders’ meetings with over 20 sectors and received quite substantial comments from the community.


“So having considered all those (feedback) and having taken account of their views, we are now proposing a refined package and then (we will pass) it back to LegCo.”


The cap has been lifted from three PPS cards to 10 PPS cards for each individual user, while each corporate user can register up to 25 PPS cards.


“We recognise that corporate users, companies, particularly in certain industries - sometimes for instance, food and beverage, logistics, etc - they may require a larger number of phones using pre-paid SIM cards for their staff.


“The relaxation from the original proposal, that is from (the cap of) three cards (to now) 25 (cards) per operator, is in fact a very big jump in terms of removing that cap.


“And 25 is not the absolute cap, as we mentioned, we are talking about 25 cards for (each) corporate user for any one service provider.”


The registration programme will also be implemented in phases for longer transitional periods for various parties.


Mr Yau noted that after the regulation starts September 1, telecommunications operators will have around 180 days, rather than 120 days as originally proposed, to put in place the registration system.


The public will have to register with their operators starting from March 1 next year.


Existing PPS card users will have to complete real-name registration with their operators within the 360-day grace period, ie on or before February 23, 2023.


The regulation will be gazetted on June 4 and tabled at LegCo for negative vetting on June 9 for commencement on September 1.

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