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Takeshi

Cheapest way to hold on to an unused Chinese number

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Takeshi

Nowadays a lot of services ask for a Chinese phone number, and I have one now so I'm just using it, but I don't even live in China and the usefulness of keeping a Chinese number is questionable. Problem is, I need a Chinese number for my bank account, alipay, etc stuff.

 

Are there any phone providers that provide prepaid phone numbers that last a long time (at least 1year) and are relatively cheap? I'm looking to spend as little money as possible just to hold on to a number for a long time, I will rarely need to make calls and messages, so it doesn't matter if the rate for either is expensive, but I probably need to be able to receive verification messages.

 

Would Skype numbers or something similar work?

 

Thanks

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889

You have a phone number, real-name registered I assume, and you can receive text messages outside the Mainland (that's not always easy to arrange). You have a Chinese bank account and can receive text messages, so you ought to be able to top up your phone from outside the Mainland.

 

What's the problem? You're paying too much per month, perhaps because you've got a plan with lots of GBs of data you no longer need? How much is too much?

 

You're not going to get a basic no-frills SIM for say 10RMB/month without returning to the Mainland to buy and register it. Unless a friend helps. But as I said, getting non-Mainland roaming opened so you can receive those texts can involve costs.

 

Every once in a while I've come across services purporting to offer Mainland numbers, but the cost would almost certainly be more than you are paying now. One problem with these services -- like those one-card-two-number SIMs you find in HK -- is first verifying your number via text. Some sites now require you to both receive a code AND send a code back from your number. Don't ask me the technical details, but because of the way these numbers are are set up, when you send the code back the site doesn't necessarily see that it's been sent from your number, so you can't complete the verification. It may show the text coming from the HK number.

 

In short, this is a reminder that folks need to get their mobile affairs straightened out before they leave China.

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Takeshi

Sorry, I should have noted visiting the mainland to buy a new simcard is convenient for me, and I visit fairly often.

 

I'm currently on a 2in1 deal, but I just wanted to know what other options I had I guess. (Partly because of verification issues you've described) I guess 10rmb per month would be okay to consider if that's the only option, but it's still quite a bit of money for something I don't use.

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889

Years ago, there were 5RMB/month cards, but unless you can buy one second-hand there's nothing that cheap anymore, so far as I know.

 

Unicom is offering a 6RMB/month card in Guangdong, but look at the fine print very closely and you'll see that that doubles to 12RMB/month after the first year. A bit under-handed the way they've hidden it. Plus, shops seem to want in the range of 200RMB just to buy the card. All in, not cheap.

 

As you may have discovered, Unicom is also pretty under-handed with those Hong Kong 2-in-1 cards: no matter how much is left on your card, unless you top it up by at least a certain amount every 90 days, the card will expire. You will lose all the money on the card, as well as what you paid for it upfront. Unicom will be of no help at all to revive the number, even just a few days late. They'll claim everything's been erased from their system.

 

In Guangdong you should be able to find a basic China Mobile card with around an 8RMB/month fee for about 40RMB (not including any value on the card itself), depending on the desirability of the number. But for international roaming so you can receive those SMSs, you'll need to make a 200RMB refundable deposit. As well, unless your phone supports TD-SCDMA you won't get 3G service on China Mobile.

 

 

 

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imron
22 minutes ago, Takeshi said:

but it's still quite a bit of money for something I don't use.

I imagine any service offering you a number will cost more than this a month.  10RMB a month seems quite reasonable.

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Takeshi

Thanks 889, that was really helpful.

 

When searching this issue I found out about Jego, a voip service from China mobile that sounded like exactly what I was looking for, but unfortunately they recently suspended their China number service. They say you can use an existing China mobile number, but I'm not sure if that means you have to still pay for the number.

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889

I'm certain you'll have to pay to keep an active number.

 

But look at the FAQ: there's a brief mention of a Mainland number that's been de-activated for use on the Mainland and can only be used overseas for Jego. I don't know what this is, though maybe it refers to the now-cancelled "Rent-a-Mainland-Number" option. No harm in asking about it, though.

 

Note that except in the case of a number deactivated for use on the Mainland, your number has to have international roaming enabled for Jego. This probably involves making the aforesaid 200RMB deposit.

 

Edit: I should have mentioned that different offices give different prices and options. I tried another Guangdong China Mobile office today, and their cheapest was 18RMB/month. No charge for the SIM, and they'd open international roaming with a non-refundable prepayment of 200RMB. For the first year some free data was included, but you couldn't choose your number.

 

And just to be clear, the offices I'm talking about are all official service center offices, not private shops. Why they can't present a simple chart of options I don't know. This particular office wouldn't give anything in writing: you just had to take their word about the terms. Such a rotten way to deal with customers.

 

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Xinyi Zhang

There is a kind of Unicom card in Dongguan,6RMB per month.20RMB for the card perhaps,I need to check.According to the instructions,you can use it for free during the first 13 months.But I'm unfamiliar with international roaming.

2017-10-28_21_39_17.jpg

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889

Yes, that's the Unicom plan I mentioned.

 

But they purposely make it confusing, in this case by breaking the 12RMB monthly fee into two parts: 6RMB basic fee and 6RMB for show-the-number service. Only the basic fee is waived for the first 13 months. So as I said, your monthly fee doubles after the first year.

 

And as for confusing, don't even think about data charges, outside Guangdong in particular.

 

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Xinyi Zhang

Oops...

Telecom has a similar one,no basic fee only charge 6RMB per month for show-the-number service,and 1RMB per day for data(1-800MB in Guangdong).But if don't use any data you would't have to pay the data fee.

I spent 20RMB to get the card in a convenient store,but I can't find the instruction.

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