China Mobile (News - Alert), a Chinese telecommunications company providing mobile voice and multimedia services, has been in the headlines lately for variety of reasons – notably for recently buying a 15 percent stake in Anhui USTC iFLYTEK Co., Ltd for an estimated $214 million in hopes of mastering the complexities of the Chinese language in light of Apple’s (News - Alert) monumental success with its infamous voice assistant, Siri. Now, the company is looking to pursue a ‘China-style’ e-wallet solution using SIM cards to embed RFID technology into mobile handsets.
As opposed to NFC-embedded mobile handsets, a SIM-card based payment solution will cost less and be more user and operator-friendly. Promising faster-to-implement e-wallet applications for consumers, individuals will soon find that there is no need to buy a new NFC phone when they can simply replace their SIM card, according to Min Hao, executive chairman of Quanray Electronics.
The company’s SIM card-based mobile payment initiative isn’t anything new, according to this EE Times article, where it has apparently been in the works since 2009. “However, because the SIM card sits right behind the phone’s battery, it hasn’t been easy for RFID chip companies to overcome signal attenuation problems caused by the battery,” they report.
Some resolved this issue by going to a higher frequency or running a wire to connect the SIM card with the antenna. Hao conversely explained that going to a higher frequency would be problematic and make the SIM card more fragile, as SIM cards would simply not be able to encompass the more than 100,000 RFID readers already used in Shanghai Metro’s mass transit system.
In response to this, Quanray electronics created a patented hardware approach that can ‘penetrate the battery,’” Hao stated. And since it’s based on a 13.56-MHz SIM card, it can leverage the existing infrastructure to create more mobile contract-less payment features. In other words, “Quanray’s solution offers a bridge to connect readers and SIM cards,” as put by EE Times.
“The bridge is passive so that it functions without [a] battery, and it can wirelessly communicate with SIM and reader,” Hao explained. The bridge can be placed either at the phone’s battery cover or atop the reader. “Currently, our users are placing the bridge at the reader side [just like a sticker], so that a mobile user can simply replace his SIM card.”
This new SIM card-based solution will work well for payment, ticketing, identity and access applications.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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