China: Giant Chinese Telco Launches RF-SIMs For World Expo

 

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Shanghai, Beijing, other China
Scope: 
Rollout
Status: 
In progress
Launch: 
Nov 2009
Main Application: 
Ticketing (entertainment), Payment
Mobile Operator: 
China Mobile
Service Provider (application): 
China Mobile (ticketing, payment)
Service Provider (application): 
Expo 2010 organizers (venue ticketing)
Merchants: 
5,000-plus
Users: 
At least 1.1 million SIMs orders (though not all likely issued)
NFC Handsets: 
N/A
TSM*: 
N/A
Secure Element: 
SIM
Other Vendors: 
Directel (RF-SIM technology), Nationz, Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology, Eastcompeace

China Mobile has developed its own contactless SIMs for payment and to enable users to buy tickets with their mobile phones and tap the phones to enter Expo 2010 venues in Shanghai to be held May through October. The ticketing application is stored in SIM cards, which the telco says can work in a variety of handsets. China Mobile also plans to support payment in McDonald's restaurants and Starbucks coffee shops, among other merchants. Reports say the telco is especially targeting merchants in the Expo park with maximum transactions of 500 yuan (US$73.23). Users will be able to reload the mobile-payment accounts on the phone, including the mobile purse, by handing over cash at China Mobile locations or by transferring money from their bank debit accounts. The telco began issuing SIMs in November in Shanghai and in expanding elsewhere, including in Beijing. The SIMs use the 2.4 GHz frequency, not 13.56 MHz, as is used in standard ISO 14443 contactless cards and NFC phones. China Mobile tested the technology in trials in Hunan and Guangdong provinces, along with Shanghai and Chongqing and is also planning to roll out in these cities. As NFC Times reported in March, China Mobile is re-evaluating its commitment to the technology

NFC Times Take: 

China’s giant mobile operator China Mobile and its majority owner, the Chinese government, want to showcase Chinese technology for Expo 2010. But the telco intends to roll out the RF-SIM in several other markets. The RF-SIMs use the 2.4-GHz frequency, not 13.56 MHz, which is standard for contactless payment and ticketing. Whether the telco is big enough to, in effect, create its own contactless standard remains to be seen, but there are signs of late that China Mobile is pulling back from its aggressive push for the technology.

 

* Trusted Service Manager: Defined loosely to include companies or other organizations securely distributing, provisioning and managing applications, generally over the air, on secure elements in NFC mobile phones; or licensing their platforms for this purpose.

N/A: Not available or not applicable.

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