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China Practically Unreachable By Western SMS?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the can-you-read-me-now dept.

Cellphones 258

Ainsy writes "A friend of mine recently began a placement as an English pronunciation teacher in China. She has picked up a pay-as-you go sim for use over there, only to discover that China seems to have been almost completely overlooked by international communications agreements, specifically from the UK. A bit of snooping tells me that Vodafone is the only network from which it is possible to send SMS to a Chinese registered mobile phone. SMS in China is upscaling massively, and is incredibly cheap currently — even 'premium' SMS info services cost 1 Yuan (that's just £0.081 GBP). I'm curious why such a large section of the world market is cut off from the west's wireless communication networks especially with the recent Olympics putting the spotlight on the nation in general. China mobile is the world's largest carrier ranked by subscriber base (415 million) and isn't even the only carrier to operate in China). There are a few websites around from which SMS can be sent to China for a fee but this is of only limited use when on the move. Can anyone tell me why this situation has come about and when we can expect this sort of service to be enabled?"

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Why would we want to talk to the Chinese? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24845615)

They eat dogs [youtube.com] .

Is this for real? (5, Insightful)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845677)

Can anyone tell me why this situation has come about and when we can expect this sort of service to be enabled?"

Here's an answer to your second question: NEVER

Here's an answer to your first question: Why the hell would the people's republic of china suddenly want to let unfiltered, uncensored text messages into the country while it keeps an iron fist on what their citizens see and hear even over the internet?

Perhaps a more pragmatic answer would be that China will allow text messages to enter into the country when it's able to monitor and censor every text message, and connect a sender to a recipient with their name and current location (to allow for quick and easy arrests), and know who to detain when they enter the country.

Re:Is this for real? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24845721)

Why the hell would the people's republic of china suddenly want to let unfiltered, uncensored text messages into the country while it keeps an iron fist on what their citizens see and hear even over the internet?

This is exactly what I thought. Blaming "the rest of the world" is idiotic. Sending SMSes to China requires a cross-connect agreement, which means both sides have to agree to connect. Why does the author think it's nothing to do with the Chinese themselves?

Re:Is this for real? (1, Offtopic)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845737)

Yeah, because we know that SMS messages are way more valuable than a phone call or email.

Re:Is this for real? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846881)

Yeah, because we know that SMS messages are way more valuable than a phone call or email.

Assuming you saying that with sarcasm... *Uncensored* SMS messages are inherently more valuable than a *censored* phone call or email...

Re:Is this for real? (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845775)

> Here's an answer to your first question: Why the hell would the people's republic of china suddenly want to let unfiltered, uncensored text
> messages into the country while it keeps an iron fist on what their citizens see and hear even over the internet?

There can't be an easier to control method of communication than SMS. You need a carrier in your country which delivers the messages to phones, which will be forced to allow monitoring; the messages are 160 characters each and text-only; the phone they're being sent to can be trivially geographically located etc. If you're going to keep a close eye on your subjects, you're going to watch to encourage SMS over any other system.

It's exactly like in the UK/US, where all companies involved in communication (phone, parcels/mail, tv, radio) are controlled completely by their governments - there's no way of sending information without the authorities knowing who sent it to who. Encryption is something of a false hope, given that countries will either prohibit it or, slightly more sensibly, pass laws empowering courts to punish subjects for not revealing their passwords and/or decrypt the messages on demand.

anonymous mail is possible (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846061)

It's exactly like in the UK/US, where all companies involved in communication (phone, parcels/mail, tv, radio)

In the US it is legal to send mail up to 13 ounces without a return address. It is legal to send mail over 13 ounces without a return address but you have to hand-deliver it to a post office box and your face will typically be caught on camera. That's to prevent bombs and the like, not contraband information.

In the USA, it's also legal to use a pay phone or a prepaid phone call without revealing your identity. You will reveal your location, so make sure you call from a relatively populated place that is devoid of cameras.

For some, anonymity is a valuable commodity: Some people are willing to pay $10-$20 for a single phone conversation in exchange for anonymity - that's the approximate cost of a cheap prepaid cell phone with 10-20 minutes of talk time.

Re:Is this for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846103)

True, in the USA SMS carriers are bound by CALEA and are forced to "cooperate" with Law Enforcement. That means that every and each SMS, MMS or Call Detail Record MUST be recorded on a log file, and MUST be available to any US Law Enforcement agency. So, monitor people SMSes won't be a problem for the Chinese as the US Government has been doing that for like 5 years now...

Re:Is this for real? (4, Insightful)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846301)

"There can't be an easier to control method of communication than SMS." of course there is, don't allow it at all.

Re:Is this for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846755)

I suppose you can dam the river an hope it doesn't overtop your dam, or allow water through and generate power from that

Completely? Really? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846739)

You can argue that there's excessive governmental interference in media and communications in the UK and/or US, but it's beyond hyperbole to suggest that "all companies involved in communication (phone, parcels/mail, tv, radio) are controlled completely by their governments", especially when the BBC of all things has explicitly stated protections from government interference in its activities.

Re:Is this for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847431)

The companies who are involved in communication are controlled by the government or is the government controlled by them?

Re:Is this for real? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24845881)

How is 8p (~15 cents) incredibly cheap?

Re:Is this for real? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846017)

How is 8p (~15 cents) incredibly cheap?

He says that's the cost for a 'premium' service, whatever that is. I've never used one myself (a normal SMS in the UK is anywhere from 0p to about 10p, depending on the provider).

Re:Is this for real? (1)

Sigismundo (192183) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846213)

It's probably a monthly fee, and not a per-message charge?

Re:Is this for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846245)

You have no idea how much the call will cost than the SMS.

Once you are there, you will finally understand why so SMS is so popular in China.

No one wants to his/her privacy be monitored by others, including the government.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

heelrod (124784) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846499)

this is all crap.

I lived in Beijing for a year, and TXT'd my friends here in the US all the time using the china mobile sim card.

works just fine.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846657)

Your friends must have wanted to murder you after all those international text charges.

Re:Is this for real? (2, Informative)

mystful (1135507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846729)

Skype allows text messages to be sent from anywhere in the world for a very reasonable fee. All of my Chinese friends (on multiple carriers) have been able to send text messages to my American (ATT) cell phone as well...

Re:Is this for real? (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846731)

Why the hell would the people's republic of china suddenly want to let unfiltered, uncensored text messages into the country while it keeps an iron fist on what their citizens see and hear even over the internet?

Oooh, scary. Did you even read the summary? "A bit of snooping tells me that Vodafone is the only network from which it is possible to send SMS to a Chinese registered mobile phone." If it's already possible via Vodafone, that indicates it's a business rather than government issue.

Re:Is this for real? (0)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846941)

Oooh, scary. Did you even read the summary? "A bit of snooping tells me that Vodafone is the only network from which it is possible to send SMS to a Chinese registered mobile phone." If it's already possible via Vodafone, that indicates it's a business rather than government issue.

Obviously, the fact that google is searchable from inside china indicates that it's a business rather than government issue there too.

Re:Is this for real? (5, Interesting)

Spikeman56 (543509) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846775)

The parent has it all wrong. Like many things in China, to the untrained eye it looks like some direct attempt to refrain free speech. In reality it's completely economic...

China Mobile _could_ allow anyone to send for free on their network, but frankly, very few people (relatively speaking) care. In a country so big and self-dependent, international texting doesn't matter.

Opening up free internet based SMSs does little other than open up a HUGE hole for people to commercialize on China Mobile's service. China Mobile, being a government owned corporation, wants to ensure that it holds a monopoly on innovation on its network. This is largely why you see very little new things in terms of SMS happening in China, because if someone attempted anything, China Unicom would simply block their service and duplicate it.

It's not about rights, it's all about money


PS: Skype can send to Chinese phones (I'm in China so I've looked into this)

Re:Is this for real? (-1, Troll)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846969)

Perhaps a more pragmatic answer would be that China will allow text messages to enter into the country when it's able to monitor and censor every text message....

No. A more pragmatic answer would be that SMS does not and probably will never support Chinese characters, or logograms of any kind. It probably doesn't even support languages written in Greek or Cyrillic characters. SMS can created by latin script societies, and like ASCII before it, probably makes the most possible use out of the fairly small latin character set.

Don't underestimate the impact of this problem. Recently, the German government embark on a multi billion euro effort to rewrite decades of government and other offical documents so as to remove the now "archaic" Eszett character and replace it with double "s"es ("ss"). When I studied German, only ten years ago, this character was still on the course. It was actually quite a useful little glyph, given the occurrence of double "s"es in the language.

But it's gone now. The reason is painfully evident. There is no Eszett character on the Qwerty keyboard or in the ASCII character set. The emergence of unicode was not enough to save it. It probably won't be the last casualty.

Things like accents, graves and umlauts will probably suffer the same fate. I remember meeting a young Sweedish office worker about problems with database inputs. Basically, customer names(the customers were also Sweedish) would often be missing umlauts on their "o"'s and the like. It emerged that the office worker inputting the names had no idea how to make an unlauted "o". The guy was a trained typist, from Sweeden, and he didn't know how to type letters of his own language using a Qwerty keyboard on an ASCII based PC. He wasn't alone.

These problems have emerged because computers were developed and are still being developed by english speakers and writers, for english speakers and writers. The computer industry was and is still centered in and on America, and other nations and speakers usually have to work around this. Rampant incompatibilities, lack of hardware support and a lack of resources and interest in the problem have lead to people, and governments, taking the easier option and just modifying their written languages to fit QWERTY and ASCII.

The Irish government in fact already did this for the Irish language as far back as 1948, in a sweeping spelling reform which moved the entire language from Gaelic script to the Latin alphabet. The move was so total that most Irish people (who admittedly don't speak irish very much anyway) do not even know that irish was ever written in anything other than latin script. This is probably a portent for the eventual fate of every other european written language, particularly smaller ones. They will change to fit ASCII/QWERTY, not the other way around.

So in short, no, SMS is not going to change. It's not going to support other characters and languages. Ever. And telephone companies are simply going to expect others to adapt their own written word to existing systems instead. The trouble is, while this may work for european languages, it is NOT going to work for Chinese and related languages. There are literally thousands of Chinese characters, and without them, speakers from different parts of the country will not be able to communicate at all as their spoken languages are in fact mutually unintelligible.

While anglophones are quick to suggest "Just Learn American!", that probably isn't going to work out so smoothly. If the western computer and telecommunications industry expects China to fit into the english/ASCII/QWERTY mould, they are probably going to be disappointed. The reality is that sooner or later, western tech is going to have to fit into the China mould. Otherwise, the Chinese will fill that mold themselves.

Re:Is this for real? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847301)

What are you talking about? SMS certianly does support Chinese characters, as there are literally BILLIONS of text messages been sent in China each day, almost all in Chinese. All cell phones sold in China contains an input program that allows input of chinese characters using ordinary keypad.

The main reasons for lack of interconnect between foreign phone carriers and Chinese carriers could be either government censorship, or inability of the carriers to come to an agreement on what's reasonable price to charge.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847491)

What are you talking about? SMS certianly does support Chinese characters, as there are literally BILLIONS of text messages been sent in China each day, almost all in Chinese.

Mod parent up.

Wife's Ukrainian cellphone expects entry in Cyrillic, with autocomplete.

There is absolutely no reason to suspect that Chinese cellphones don't speak Chinese. Heck, we're lucky they speak English, given the relative size of the markets.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847263)

Working in telecom for the last few years, I think you are speculating.

This sort of things more often than not happens because of lacking business arrangements. A simple thing as sending a SMS involves agreements at a business level as well as at a technical level.

Often providers are cheap and they don't want to pay a clearing house to handle international SMS, they need to do this to stay competitive in the local market at the expense of borderline cases. This could be your UK provider or the Chinese one.

Same is true for banks, my bank charges me 12$ a month, however I have a few extra services, one being the benefit of withdrawing money from any ATM in the world that accepts a VISA/Plus network (a lot of them do). Part of my 12$ goes to pay Visa/Plus network. My previous no fee banking account at another bank had no such feature, I painfully discovered this stuck in India not able to get money easily.

Spam (2, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845693)

Just think of how bad text message spam would be if those tricksy Chineses were able to reach us? I imagine it's largely preventative given the amount of spam originating from that country.

Re:Spam (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845995)

Slightly more prosaically, I think many cell phone providers would not know what to do once messages in Big5, GB2312 and UTF-8 start arriving, crashing the outdated phones they subsidize expensive plans with.

Better then, as they see it, to disallow messaging to/from China, Korea and Taiwan.

Re:Spam? top spammers are: (3, Informative)

kubitus (927806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846153)

reality looks like this:

USA 1590

China 442

Russia 304

SouthKorea 201

UK 184

http://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/countries.lasso [spamhaus.org]

http://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/spammers.lasso [spamhaus.org]

no comment!

Re:Spam? top spammers are: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847159)

Who do you think is controlling the machines in the USA sending that spam?

Re:Spam (4, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846721)

Just think of how bad text message spam would be if those tricksy Chineses were able to reach us? I imagine it's largely preventative given the amount of spam originating from that country.

Actually most of the "Chinese" spam does not originate there. It's paid for by American spammers, to sell American products. See the ROKSO list if you have any doubts.

It's so obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24845701)

1. Disallow SMS transmissions
2. Set up SMS website at 1 Yuan per message
3. ???
4. PROFIT

same experience from Austria (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845707)

to my knowledge no mobile phone provider passes SMS from Austria to China. ( which would ease the time difference for communication )

Monopoly of China mobile (5, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845711)

China Telecom & China mobile are no longer actual monopolies, but still control enough of the market to be very monopolistic in nature.

You can expect SMS interoperability...never, and the last I heard, they were pissed off with the potential of skype-like services cutting into their profits and were going after skype-out with great vengeance and furious anger.

Censorship (2, Funny)

gsslay (807818) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845713)

Wow. Don't follow international politics much, do you?

Re:Censorship (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846097)

Most people don't.

I am currently thinking of moving to the Bay Area (California) and I am amazed at how much of an affluence bubble that exists there (and San Diego, Suburbs).

I live in a very poor part of a large city. Drug dealers and prostitutes are the norm. I point them out to my out of town visitors they gasp. People still do that? they ask.

The reality is that 'rich' people (top 4% of US) are not often exposed to the 'real' world.

The thought of me slaughtering my own animals is barbaric from fellow chicken eaters who understand chick to come in little trays from the grocery store. A "whole" chicken is foreign.

To those who experience a DIFFERENT government first hand, and the ramifications - I am constantly overjoyed. It is a big and diverse world and not for the timid.

My favorite joy was opening the first paycheck of a highschooler. I'd ask them to open in front of me. They assumed they made minimum wage but in reality they made less due to taxes. Their world just doubled in size right before their eyes.

The whole kit and kaboodle . . (1, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845735)

is handled by the same people who verified the Chinese Gymnasts ages.

You know the ones who they say were 16, but really 14 and looked really 12?

Those gymnasts were 016 (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846121)

The Chinese use octal. They just love the number 8.

Re:Those gymnasts were 016 (2, Informative)

rs79 (71822) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847439)

(Ok so I'm a pedant that did a bit of PDP-8 programming, they use octal).

The number "8" doesn't show up in octal. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12....

Re:The whole kit and kaboodle . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846185)

Mod this up, it was funny.

Have you tried it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24845747)

I was in China for 5 weeks with a China Mobile cell phone and had no problems with SMS to my girlfriends US (Verizon) cell phone

Re:Have you tried it (0, Offtopic)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845997)

Wow, you have multiple girl friends. You rock, but you're also a hog.

Shenanigans! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24845785)

I write this from a small city in Fujian province (the south of China), and can tell you from experience that O2 and T-Mobile can also send SMS messages from the UK to my China Mobile PAYG phone here. It sounds to me like your friend has a bad phone...

Re:Shenanigans! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846175)

Can western devices send SMS in a Chinese Characters set ? or must the Chinese recipient know Pin- Yin etc., How do Chinese to Chinese send SMS text?. What Character set is used?

So even if my USA device can do SMS , mine can only input ASCII English characters on my device, So how do I communicate with you
?

Re:Shenanigans! (3, Insightful)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846407)

If you go to Finland are you forced to send messages only in Finnish? No?

If you go to Poland are you forced to send messages only in Polish? No?

Same for China.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846759)

What a dumb Answer

Were talking about TEXT messaging
Chinese is not the same as Finnish!!
    Chinese uses No Alphabet!!\

  It's Charachter set is in deference to your post Pictures ,
Chinese People do not commuinicate with an alphabet as we do in Finnish or English ,
Many western SMS text devices have no way of Inputting Chinese charachters .

 

Re:Shenanigans! (2, Informative)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847399)

Yeah, you do realize you're talking to a real, actual Chinese person in English?

You're wrong on so many levels.

First, there are many Chinese (even 1% out of 1.4 billion is still 14 million) who can perfectly talk and understand English. So, sending an English SMS message to them is perfectly fine.

Then, if the poor Chinese is confined to a phone with old styled 0-9*# keyboards, or QWERTY keyboards, he can type Chinese via input methods - basically he'll key in code sequences representing Chinese characters. If he switches the keyboard back to alphanumeric mode he can still type alphanumeric characters.

Finally, a Chinese with a iPhone and similar large touchscreen phones can just write Chinese characters on the screen. Again, typing alphanumeric characters can be accomplished by a simple mode switch.

Oh, and don't tell me Apple hasn't started selling iPhone in China yet. You can either buy that form Hong Kong (it's even unlocked out of the box), or from the black market.

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847625)

So the Majority of the Chinese population cannot communicate via SMS , only that small population that learn some cryptic code sequences to represent their character set ?

What we need is a re-make of SMS
It must support Chinese Characters directly as well as the languages of the world
SMS now seems outdated for international communication, without some pre- defined cryptic coding , How about SMS Unicode?

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847055)

Chinese does not use any alphabet THEY DO NOT USE LETTERS .
I have yet to see any US or European SMS text device that can input Chinese , In fact the SMS [protocol is based on US ASCII character set is it not ?
To think that every Chinese person can read English or write any letters / alphabetic based language is naieve

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

JediLow (831100) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846901)

Same here - I've gotten text messages from China. During Chinese New Year I received 3 or 4 text messages from friends that I have in Qinghai...

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846907)

Hi,
Could you please provide us with your current location?

Sincerely,
Chinese Authorities

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847331)

No problem sending messages from Verizon in the US to China, either. Doesn't look like Verizon even overcharged me for it, which is really out of character for them.

Re:Shenanigans! (2)

IP_Troll (1097511) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847441)

A bit of snooping tells me that Vodafone is the only network from which it is possible to send SMS to a Chinese registered mobile phone.

WRONG - I have sent and received text messages from people in the PRC, I do not use Vodafone.

I'm curious why such a large section of the world market is cut off from the west's wireless communication networks especially with the recent Olympics putting the spotlight on the nation in general.

WRONG - It's not. Since when did SMS become "the west's wireless communication networks"? Try actually dialing the phone number and talking. Chances are the article writer's friend is merely leaving off the international dialing code, a common mistake. China isn't Europe, you need to dial more numbers.

It is interesting that when forced to choose between the idea of "clueless n00b" and "evil authoritarian" the slashdot crowd jumped on the unsubstantiated and ridiculous assertion that a trivial form of communication is blocked by China. SMS DOESN'T MEAN BUGGER.

What ever happened to the scientific method and empirical data? Where is some evidence to back this up other than a single anecdote? How did this tripe get on the front page?

Conspiracy (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845787)

I do believe it is a conspiracy by telecom companies not to spend money on something that they don't anticipate making a profit from.

Canada to China SMS - OK (5, Informative)

omkhar (167195) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845793)

Not an issue in Canada. Both Rogers (China Mobile and China Unicom) and Bell (China Mobile) support sending SMS to china

Souce

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless-text/international_txt

http://www.bell.ca/shopping/en_CA_ON.info/VasInternationalTextMsg.details?tab=SPECS

Re:Canada to China SMS - OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846261)

That's just because we're a bunch of freedom hating commie lovers up here in Canada.

It's really hard to spread god-fearing democracy via SMS.

Re:Canada to China SMS - OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846911)

Friend sent me an SMS to a Chinese mobile from Germany, three years ago. So no problem there as well.

Comunism (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845945)

Did I just say comunism?, of course not Mr Officer, I said consumism, those westeners...

SMS Works for me (1)

phucan (787938) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845949)

I haven't had any problems in the past sending and receiving text messages to my friends in Beijing and Shanghai. I'm on the Fido/Rogers network here in Canada. I'd test it out right now but it's 1 am in China.

I think that (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845963)

it's fairly amazing that international SMS works at all. Although it's a simple protocol, there are a lot of moving parts in between it would seem.

Chinese Government's Reply (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24845981)

Open communications and expresion is in China's future and always will be.

How (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24845991)

This may be a dumb qustion but.
How does one send Chinese characters over SMS from the west with an alphabetic only keypad input ? China Unreachable by SMS yes but
  even if you could SMS to China, It seems foolish for a westerner to think that every Chinese can read Pin- Yin etc , it is stupid and insensitive as my Chinese neighbor says , even if we can SMS we need to use Unicode etc .
  Chinese has no alphabet and no way to input it on many western SMS devices , and i don't even know if SMS supports any characters sets other than ASCII English

Re:How (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846557)

If you buy a handset in China you'll get the same keyboard anyone in the west gets - it may be QWERTY, most of the time 0-9*#, and a writing pad if you got the iPhone 3G from Hong Kong.

iPhone's writing pad is obivous - you write Chinese characters with your hand on it, and switch back to the keyboard if you need to input alphanumeric characters. For the fixed keyboards you get something called "input methods" - basically you input a few keys according to some pattern (e.g. you type in the word's pinyin [wikipedia.org] , or an encoded form of the character's structural description [wikipedia.org] ), and it will give you a menu of Chinese characters in a menu to choose from. Again, if you need to input alphanumeric characters, there's some key to switch back to alphanumeric mode.

because the CCCP doesn't want this: (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846027)

OMG army dudez machine gunnin college kids in tiananmen sq. pass it on bro BRB

CCCP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846239)

Where does the Soviet Union come into this?

Re:because the CCCP doesn't want this: (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847369)

D@L@1 1@M@ RULZ FT(W)

0M M@N1 P@DM3 HUN6

\|/
>*<
d^b

FREE TIBET

(No service)

What hole have you been living in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846033)

Hello? Great Firewall of China? This seems like a no brainer.

Exactly, but no mod points for me today! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846625)

Exactly, but no mod points for me today!

Once Again, Slashdot Jumps to the Anti-China Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846053)

I am able to send SMS to china too.

Stop jumping to conclusions about China without facts.

Censorship in China is no more effective than "do not show to minors" warnings on porn. 1.3 billion people are not so easily firewalled.

Re:Once Again, Slashdot Jumps to the Anti-China Li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846269)

Nope, they're just cowed into obedience with the threat of being made into unpersons.

No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846083)

What? You want us to tell you a way to flood China, overrun its government and make the Oil Industry control the lives of 1 billion chinese people? No way dude. Figure it out your self.

Depends (1)

Life+Liberty+Freedom (1345021) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846087)

Can anyone tell me why this situation has come about and when we can expect this sort of service to be enabled?"

Depends, is slashdot available in China?

SMS is doing what? (3, Funny)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846091)

I may be at a disadvantage as a native English speaker, but what the heck does "upscaling massively" mean?

Is this some bizarrely twisted Babelfish translation of "becoming very popular"?

Re:SMS is doing what? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846659)

If by "babelfish" you mean "five-dollar word".

5 words. (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846129)

GREAT FIRE WALL OF CHINA. Or maybe your friend is just on a government watch list over there and they aren't allowing him to get SMS's or he just has a really krappy phone plan.

What's more surprising? (4, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846189)

That one person who has trouble sending SMS to China thinks that their story is newsworthy, or that the /. editors accepted it?

Re:What's more surprising? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847259)

Absolutely... a total non-story. And quite typical of a UK citizen to think that because something happens there it happens everywhere. Britons need to get out more, then they might release how unique (and overpriced) their experience is for many things.

The editors accepting this is just part of the recent decrease in quality of /. Welcome to Diggocracy! Bring on the lolcats.

Re:What's more surprising? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847523)

As a UK citizen who moved to the US, I agree that Britons all ought to live overseas for a bit to see that the world doesn't revolve around Britain. But I don't think that this story is a good example of why - this is someone who thinks the world revolves around the very spot they're standing on. (And as someone who watched the NBC coverage of the Olympics - it's not just the Brits who think that the world revolves around them.)

plain n simple (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846251)

> Can anyone tell me why this situation has come about

cuz d gr8 fw of CN cn't detect d h8rz

"/." Call Center. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846397)

" Can anyone tell me why this situation has come about and when we can expect this sort of service to be enabled?"

Hi! You've reached Slashdot technical support. All of our representatives are busy helping other customers. So please listen to our crappy music selection until we can get to you. Thank you!

how to send a message to china... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846525)

use MMS... im on o2 and frequently send messages to china :)
pictures also work, although ive not got a video through yet :(

Depends on your carrier's Inter-Carrier SMS vendor (5, Informative)

Alereon (660683) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846541)

It would be cost-prohibitive for a phone company to maintain connections to every company they want to exchange SMS with. Instead, they select one of the several companies that maintain inter-carrier messaging networks to deliver this traffic for them. These companies include VeriSign [verisign.com] , Syniverse [syniverse.mobi] , and Sybase 365 [sybase.com] . Which carriers you can exchange SMS with depends on which of these vendors your carrier has selected. In general, while they all have two-way reach to the major carriers internationally, each vendor has a different profile of smaller international carriers and countries in their portfolio.

Sorry, I'm getting a lot of static! (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846547)

Maybe she is avoiding you?

Try Skype (well, the windows version) (1)

kroyd (29866) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846615)

It works pretty well to send text messages to at least some Chinese mobile networks with Skype, but AFAIK the SMS option is not enabled in the Linux version yet. Of course, you can't receive any answers, and you have to be online to send, so it is not really a perfect alternative.

Two questions, same answer (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846629)

Can anyone tell me why this situation has come about and when we can expect this sort of service to be enabled?

Answer to the first question: it's come about because the Chinese government hasn't figured out a way to control, filter, or monitor (or all three) SMS messages.

Answer to the second question: it'll be enabled when the Chinese government figures out an easy way to control, filter, or monitor (or all three) SMS messages.

Sometimes, the simple answers are the best ones.

2 much better questions (0, Troll)

catmistake (814204) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846639)

SMS is expensive... and a gimmick. There are far better FREE mobile messinging techs out there, but it is still insanely popular.

1) Why do people still use SMS?
2) When will they stop, and stfu already?

Re:2 much better questions (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846849)

So, I'm out in the middle of nowhere. My cell phone has a weak signal, enough to show up on the network but not enough to support an understandable conversation. I need to tell some people where I am. Instead of using SMS to give them my coordinates, I should _____________. (Please fill in the blank here.)

Re:2 much better questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846961)

lrn2 signal flares.

works fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846699)

My gf lives there and we txt everyday with no problem. US T-mobile to China mobile.

Uh, can you say..... (1)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846735)

COMMUNIST country? Damn, what kind of silly question is that? Seriously, where have you been hiding the last 60 years or so? It's not like Telecoms are overlooking China as much as China is banning them from doing any business there.

Granted, the reins are loosening and pretty soon, China will be about as communist as my cat, but do we really need dipshit questions like this on /.?

It's not just China (2, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846793)

I can speak and read Russian reasonably well and I have a few friends who live in Ukraine and Russia. I live in the USA. I can send SMS to any of my friends in Ukraine, but only some of them can send SMS back to me. I don't remember which one, but one of the two biggest mobile phone companies in Ukraine simply does not allow their customers to send SMS to the USA. The other one does allow it. Again, incoming SMS is no problem.

In Russia, I have a friend with the opposite problem. She can send SMS to me with no problem, but I cannot send SMS to her. Basically T-Mobile (my provider) says that her company (Megafon) has problems accepting SMS from T-Mobile and they (Megafon) aren't interested in fixing it. T-Mobile says it is an issue Megafon has to fix. So the only way that I could send SMS to my friend was to use Megafon's website which allows you to send SMS via the web to their customers.

Note that this has all been true for years and has nothing to do with the Georgia-Russia situation. Ukraine has excellent relations with the USA and nobody knows why one of their major mobile phone providers refuses to allow its customers to send SMS to the USA while the other one has no such restrictions, but that's how it is. A wise man once said "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" or something like that.

no problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846883)

I have no problem texting people in hong kong using sim cards purchased there from a phone with a uk sim card.

UK 2 China = MMS (1)

FeX79 (1356095) | more than 5 years ago | (#24846925)

im on O2 in the UK, and i can send messages to china using MMS... pictures also work, although video doesnt seem to :( images that are sent/recieved are scaled down to a stupidly small size, so dont expect anything high quality to come through.. but it does work :) im not sure of the russian carrier, but i have also sent plain sms to st petersburg

It is reachable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24846955)

I have no problem sending SMS to a Chinese friend of mine, after he contacted his cell phone plan provider to enable the feature.

Can't censor SMS messages (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847061)

A number of posters have already responded to this.

Contrary to what some people will tell you, SMS messages are safe. They are not cached or stored anywhere. I happen to know that the BILLING for SMS messages eats up an order of magnitude more bandwidth and storage space than the messages themselves. The companies that do SMS billing run on a shoestring and can just barely handle the billing capacity. They aren't even CONSIDERING any eavesdropping because doing so would require massive SMS caches that they aren't about to pay for. Wiretapping requirements would drive them out of business overnight, so you can expect them to fight it tooth and nail. In fact, the telcos are already trying to preempt this by having US SMS messages billed by Euro companies and Euro SMS messages billed by US companies to make it harder for intelligence agencies to determine who to go after.

In other words, it looks like if a law is passed requiring them to monitor SMS they'll probably just ignore it. Telecom immunity, remember? People seem to forget this applies to FUTURE crimes and is very broad. Including allowing telecoms to ignore eavesdropping requirements on new services, which is one of the big reasons they wanted the immunity. They want the power to say to the government "You want us to install new wiretapping gear? Fine, pay us big pile of money otherwise we aren't doing dick."

What else is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847251)

What part of "chink" do you not understand?

US T-mobile works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847435)

My wife texts (SMS) her family in China all the time. My wife uses T-mobile in the US. Her family uses China Mobile, some pre paid, others not.

It is the user and not China's networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24847539)

I've been living and working in the following area's of China for the past six months: Shenzhen where I have a China Mobile pay-as-you go number, Shanghai where I have a registered China Mobile sim, and I've sent text messages using my Verizon phone over China Unicom's network. I've never had a problem sending text messages to the U.S., U.K. or anywhere else for that matter AS LONG AS I use the full and correct country/area code/number format. ID 10 T

1 RMB is too expensive (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847543)

1 RMB for an SMS is still too expensive, when you consider that it costs nearly nothing to send an SMS.

Why China Doesn't SMS (1)

EunuchsAddMen (1351807) | more than 5 years ago | (#24847593)

Might the problem lie in the fact that it's probably much more difficult to text in Mandarin than in a language with a phonetic alphabet like English? I don't know how phones in China deal with their written language, but I've seen keyboards with Chinese characters on them, and they looked a bit busy to say the least. A cell phone with the normal number of buttons might be an infeasible way to enter text.
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