Apple Watch Series 3 users in China have their cellular connection cut off abruptly

Apple Watch Series 3 users in China have their cellular connection cut off abruptly
Apple Watch Series 3 users in China were enjoying the wearable's new stand alone capability that allows it to make calls, send and receive texts, and go online even without pairing with a nearby Apple iPhone. But on September 28th, just a few days after the timepiece launched globally, China pulled the cellular connection from the Apple Watch. The apparent reason for this action has to do with how China monitors its citizens who use cellular enabled devices.

The Chinese government requires consumers who need a SIM card for an online device, to register their real name with the wireless operator that they subscribe to. All three of the country's wireless carriers are run by the state. The problem with the Apple Watch is that it uses an eSIM, which is a small embedded SIM card placed inside the timepiece by Apple. The eSIM allows the Apple Watch Series 3 owner to decide which carrier and plan he/she wants to use. And that makes it more difficult for the Chinese government to track users of this smartwatch.

When the watch went on sale on September 22nd, only qualified China Unicom subscribers were allowed to connect to the carrier's cellular network. The China Unicom website says that the cellular connectivity was offered only on a trial basis. In a statement, all Apple can say is that it was informed by China Unicom that the cellular feature on the Apple Watch Series 3 "has been suspended."

So far, there seems to be no clue as to when China Unicom will flip the switch and turn the cellular connectivity back on for Apple Watch Series 3 owners in China. Whenever that happens, it can't be soon enough for an Apple Watch Series 3 owner like 19-year old Qiu Tian, who paid $600 for the smartwatch on the September 22nd launch date. The teen said that he figured the cellular connectivity feature wouldn't be fully supported by the three Chinese carriers, but he didn't expect the plug to be pulled so quickly.

source: WSJ

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10 Comments

1. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

What did people expect? The Government would not subject the Apple watch to its back door access and eavesdropping and Great Firewall? Remember China is still a country run by the communist party. A communist party that loves capitalist money ( how Ironic)

2. notfair

Posts: 740; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

that's it.. blame china not the manufacturer ... geez you're simple.

3. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Trying reading the article, or have someone read it to you, and hopefully you’ll understand it was an entity within China that turned off the connection to the watch, not Apple.

7. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Why would you blame Apple for the chinese government forcing the carrier to shut down cellular connections to the watch?

8. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1556; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I'll gladly bash Apple when I can, but this is the Chinese governments fault.

9. NDKsis

Posts: 14; Member since: May 31, 2017

I dislike Apple as a manufacturer but the dictators right above my head are much more worth blamed

10. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Cutting your watch connection is a lot better than what the US does with the NSA. US citizens live by the saying “Ignorance is bliss” because they seem to enjoy being listened to by their government and at the same time volunteer to upload all their dirty pictures to store on some server out there because it’s called the “cloud”.

4. PSAfromThisGuy

Posts: 145; Member since: Jan 16, 2017

oh well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ LOL!!!!

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31029; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Ouch, and you can't blame this on Apple. China tripped out.

6. Cat97

Posts: 1890; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

To be honest, I find the eSIM to be a stupid idea. The nanoSIM (or an even smaller version) would have been much more versatile, even if bigger than the eSIM. In many countries you can't use an eSIM, it's cumbersome and not supported.

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