Non-Chinese phones with a China Telecom SIM (in China) - how?

By avmad ·
Tags: Smartphones
Hello all,

You may know that if you bring a non-Chinese phone to China and then obtain a China Telecom SIM, you will likely not be able to use it for SMS or making or receiving calls (although data 'may' work). This is the situation with my Realme 3 Pro (purchased in India) here in China - only 4G data works with the SIM. My iPhone 6 Plus (purchased in UK) is even worse: with that device, it does not recognise the SIM at all.

I took the Realme phone to a China Telecom store here as I suspected that the SIM was bad but the owner put the SIM in another (Chinese) phone there and it worked properly. He informed me that China Telecom SIMs only work in phones purchased in Mainland China (which I have heard before).

I also have a 3 year old Xiaomi Mi Note 2 phone bought in Hong Kong. The China Telecom SIM *does* work properly in this phone and I have had to revert to this phone to ensure I get calls for now.

My questions are these:
1) Does anyone have ideas about how the China Telecom SIM or service is able to determine whether the phone is Chinese or not?
2) Could it have anything to do with the SMS Centre number?
3) How could I get around this so that Realme can make calls and send SMS rather than just having 4G from the SIM?

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