China has reportedly instated a ban on the addition of new telephony and internet subscribers in Olympic cities for the month of August. The government-issued order will bar the four main wireline and wireless operators – China Telecom, China Mobile, China Netcom and China Unicom – from signing up new subscribers in Beijing, Shanghai, and several other Olympic venues which may include Tianjin, Qingdao and other areas. The measure, which company employees revealed to journalists, is intended to ensure the stability of networks during the Olympic Games which will run for three weeks from 8 August.
Industry press speculates that the ban will have no more than a marginal effect on the telcos’ bottom line, given that in recent quarters their growth has been predominantly from rural and not metropolitan areas. Moreover, Deutsche Bank was quoted as saying there would likely be loopholes in the ban: ‘the operators are notorious for finding means of circumventing such edicts’.