“Security concerns” lead to LTE service shutdown on Chinese Apple Watches

 In apple watch, apple watch series 3, Biz & IT, China, eSIM, Tech

“Security concerns” lead to LTE service shutdown on Chinese Apple Watches

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Enlarge / You can now make calls from your Apple Watch without the phone nearby.

Apple’s struggles in China continue to mount, and this time, it’s Apple’s newest wearable causing problems for the company. According to a Wall Street Journal report, standalone wireless service available on certain models of the Apple Watch Series 3 has been shut down just one month after the device became available. Chinese customers who purchased a Series 3 with LTE are not able to connect their wearables to their wireless networks, and it’s unclear when service will be reinstated.

When the Apple Watch Series 3 became available on September 22, LTE service was available exclusively through China’s Unicom wireless company. However, new cellular subscriptions were cut off after September 28. Those who registered for wireless service on their Apple Watch before September 28 (essentially, customers who bought the new device within the first week of sale) have been unaffected. Those who have tried to set up wireless service on a Series 3 device since September 28 have been unable to do so.

Unicom’s website only says that cellular service was initially offered on a “trial basis,” but the company is not saying when it would come back for new customers. Analysts suspect the shutdown is due to security concerns from the Chinese government, which heavily regulates all mobile phone service and devices.

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The Chinese government doesn’t know what to do with eSIMs yet.

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