Prepaid Phones Going, Going, Gone? — UPDATE
In an effort to reduce fraud involving prepaid handsets, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications together with telecos has announced a series of security measures to take effect by spring of 2005. As reported by Wireless Watch Japan earlier this week, politicians as well as the media have been making a lot of noise about doing away with pre-paid service entirely after their use in several high-profile fraud cases last year (which would make Japan the only market anywhere to do so). Such a move would come down hardest on Vodafone, the dominant player in Japan’s prepaid handset market.
Vodafone is already moving ahead with the Ministry’s new security requirements, saying that the company will have tighter ID checks on all new customers in place by the end of this year.
Under the new, stricter, system, buyers can only obtain prepaid handsets once their ID information has been confirmed and registered on Vodafone K.K.’s customer information system.
From this month, the company will work to confirm the identity of existing prepaid phone subscribers — a move that could result in suspension of existing lines if customers fail to provide the information requested.