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hutong_denizen

Re-activating a China Unicom SIM card

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hutong_denizen

Does anyone know if it is possible to re-activate a China Unicom number that has expired due to inactivity? I have had a number for years that I kept going by suspending it when I left the country and periodically topping up the balance, but after forgetting about it for a while I find I am unable to log in to the account management area.

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yueni

After a certain period of time, that phone number is re-entered into the system and reused. If you let it lapse too long, that number is no longer yours, and now belongs to somebody else. You can check with China Unicom yourself to see if this is the case.

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Jim

How long? I had a China Mobile number topped up but idle for over three years that I was able to revive by going to one of the service centres with my passport and getting it set up again. Would imagine Unicom would be similar.

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hutong_denizen

Thanks for the replies. The period of inactivity must be about a year by now. I tried calling the number and heard a recorded message saying it's invalid, which gives me some hope, as at least it hasn't been re-cycled and given to someone else.

 

I plan to make a trip to one of the China Unicom service centers as soon as I'm back (which unfortunately won't be until well into next year).

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yueni

I don't know what the length of time is. It might have to do with the kind of contract you signed with China Unicom. Or it might depend on the city you live in. Or it might depend on __fill in the blank___. Speak with China Unicom. They will 100% know better than me what their policies are.

 

When I first got my phone number, I got a lot of people from some place in Hunan calling me for over a month wanting to speak to the previous owner of my phone number. It took me a good 2-3 months to convince them to stop calling me because 1) I wasn't that person, 2) I didn't know that person, 3) that person has probably gotten a new number already.

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hutong_denizen

Thanks for the input! As I'm not in a position to go back to China myself for a while, I'm going to try to give a friend enough documentation to go to China Unicom on my behalf and make inquiries.

 

I really hope I can get the number back, as I had a lot of accounts of various kinds (web services, banking, etc.) linked to it.

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889

Has this card been registered in your name yet? I'm not sure others can do that for you. In any event, my best guess is that after years not months it will be gone.

 

 

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hutong_denizen

Yes, it was registered in my name from the beginning. Let’s see if it’s possible to get it back!

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hutong_denizen

A quick update on this topic: a friend was kind enough to go to a China Unicom outlet in Beijing on my behalf armed with a photocopy of my passport and other documentation. It turns out that there is an outstanding balance of RMB 7 and I need to show up in person to pay it. If the number hasn't been assigned to someone else by the time I get back in April 2018, I should be able to recover it!

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nora

could you tell me what steps do i need to follow as i have same problem as yours but im not travelling to china any time soon but all my accounts are linked to my number ...please do help me

 

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hutong_denizen

I'm just back from China and thought some people might find an update on this thread useful:

 

It turns out that it is indeed possible to recover a China Unicom phone number that has been marked as inactive. The process is to go to one of the larger service centers (not one of the small branches) and submit the details to a representative with proof of identity, such as a passport. They will phone back after a few days to let you know if the number is still within the grace period during which it can be recovered. Unfortunately, mine had been inactive too long and could not be recovered.

 

It's well worth using the China Unicom application to freeze your account if you're going to be outside China for a long time and to make sure that you leave a sufficient balance to cover the monthly fee until you get back if you're going to need your number again.

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