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How Can Ex-Pat Establish Fixed-Line Telephone Service in China?

How Can Ex-Pat Establish Fixed-Line Telephone Service in China?

Sep 25th, 2007, 07:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 278
How Can Ex-Pat Establish Fixed-Line Telephone Service in China?

I'm passing along a question from my co-worker. He will be moving to China in a few months and wants to establish a fixed line (land line) business telephone account before he gets there. He has a location selected already, but was told there is no current telephone service in that building. Can any ex-pats (or otherwise) tell me how he can do this from the U.S.? Strange question, I know... sorry.
Kennedy3 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 09:15 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 142
It probably depends on the city. Many cities have expat forums where people can speak from experience. example is shanghaiexpat.com

If I hadn't written the requirement into my lease I would have asked the real estate agent or colleague to set it up. Admins and drivers do lots of personal things for expats because often we don't have the time nor language capability.

In our 2 Shanghai houses we just took over paying existing phone bills. However we always had the real estate agent add a second line so one could be used for late night business calls which are during the US business day - an upleasant reality of being an expat 12 hours from home office. This allows flexibility for multiple people to use fixed lines at the same time. (At our second house mobile reception is unacceptable.)

They'll probably want internet too, which is through the telephone provider. I don't know if there's another option. Need to specify ADSL line speed you want. We pay 130rmb/mo for that service and like 30rmb/mo for the extra phone line if it's not used for phone calls. We can use both phone and internet associated with that phone line at the same time, so technically we could probably get away with only having one line.

Our office did a study and found that long distance via mobile phone package was less expensive than non-IP fixed line. Skype is not blocked but isn't always that clear in the evening. And you can buy "100 rmb" phone cards for 30 to 35RMB that allow you to talk to the midwest USA for around 41 minutes.
nagiffag is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 05:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 253
You should demand this from the landlord - I can almost guarantee that they will comply.
baaj is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 31
which city your friend will move to?

He or She rent a personal family house or apartment for some building?
Chinatourguide is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 09:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 278
He'll be in Beijing and will be establishing a business in a building without current fixed-line service. He needs to get the business up and running before he moves, but is unsure of what company to contact in China from the U.S. The bills will have to go to him and be paid by him from the U.S., at least for 3 or 4 months. Is it possible to establish service from the U.S., by a U.S. citizen and be paid by a U.S. citizen before he moves?
Kennedy3 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 253
It will be next to impossible for a foreigner with no recorded assets inside China (for collateral) to set up such an account. And absolutely impossible to arrange foreign billing direct with the telephone provider. You will get no help from the state run telephone company (also note that there will be no enlgish speaking customer service) - either convince the landlord, or hire an assistant.

When I lived in China, I used to run a business on the side which provided services like these to expats and/or foreign companies. There is an extraordinary amount of red tape in these simple transactions - you can't even imagine. It's definitely better to hire someone else who can spend the hours queuing at the phone company and/or bank. If your friend really needs some help, post back here and we can discuss offline.
baaj is offline  
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