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Chinese telecom companies cut Apple Watch Series 3 access to LTE, cite government security concerns

Friday October 20, 2017. 02:15 PM , from Power Page
China has terminated LTE access for the Apple Watch Series 3 without explanation. Per the Wall Street Journal, all three major carriers in China have closed off LTE access, apparently over the government’s security concerns over the device.
The WSJ reports that LTE functionality was available on China Unicom at launch, but new subscriptions were terminated just a few days later. Existing users are so far unaffected, it says.
It’s thought that the government was concerned about the fact that it could not track the new Apple Watch Series 3’s user base given its use of an eSIM device.

The eSIM card itself is embedded in the watch by Apple, not by carriers.
The benefit of a device carrying an eSIM is that, with software, users can choose a telecom operator and a communications plan. But in China, that new system raises the question of how carriers and regulators can track the device user’s identity.
China Unicom stated that LTE access had been offered “on a trial basis,” Apple has stated that the company is aware of the issue, but then referred further enquiries to the carrier.
The Chinese regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The restriction further complicates Apple’s tenuous relationship with the Chinese government. Apple was recently told to ‘tighten checks‘ on live-streaming apps and was forced by the Chinese government to remove 400 Virtual Private Network apps from the localized version of the App Store.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
Via 9to5Mac and the Wall Street Journal

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