Back in June, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) met with the nation’s three major telecom operators (China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom) to criticize them for potentially misleading advertising for unlimited data packages. Among other things, the ministry singled out a hidden restriction that slowed buyers’ connection speeds after they hit a certain data threshold.

Recently, the Shandong branches of the “big three” were again criticized by provincial government officials for similar reasons. The Shandong Administration for Industry & Commerce told local state media that operators had issued misleading advertisements for unlimited data packages a total of 45,995 times. The administration also stated that under the circumstances, the practice of throttling internet speeds was unlawful, and issued an order for all three companies to change their practices.

Besides urging mobile operators to stop sending the misleading ads, the Shandong administration emphasized that it will tighten restrictions on advertising practices.

In June, after receiving criticism on the national level, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom all released similar statements, saying that they would change their promotional materials to include hidden restrictions, and make an effort to remind customers about package limitations as well as the amount of data they’d used.

As of this evening (September 18), the Shandong branches of the “big three” mobile operators hadn’t yet released public statements regarding potential changes to their advertising practices.

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

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