China Mobile signs NFC payments partnership deal

The world’s largest mobile network operator is to collaborate with national payments network China UnionPay, in a deal set to lead to the introduction of NFC services in up to one hundred Chinese cities.

China Mobile and China UnionPay bosses mark their NFC collaboration
NFC DEAL: Pictured left to right, China Mobile’s VP Sha Yuejia and chairman Xi Guohua with China UnionPay chairman Su Ning and EVP Chai Hongfeng

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile network operator with 667m subscribers, has signed an NFC collaboration deal with China’s national payments network, China UnionPay.

The deal will see the two companies working together to promote NFC payments and on the development of NFC products, technical standards, TSM interoperability and phone compatibility testing.

Beginning with pilot tests in several cities, the partners plan to gradually extend NFC payments services to one hundred Chinese cities and service areas.

Both China UnionPay and China Mobile have been actively involved in the development of mobile payments for a number of years and have each conducted extensive field tests. China Mobile had originally championed the use of longer range RF-SIM technology, however, before signing up with the GSMA earlier this year to support SIM-based NFC technology.

China UnionPay, meanwhile, has already rolled out 620,000 merchant terminals supporting its Quick Pass contactless card technology and has developed its own specification for microSD-based NFC services. This calls for a microSD card to be used to carry a user’s payments credentials in a mobile phone containing a standard NFC controller and built-in antenna.

Both China Unicom and China Telecom, the country’s two other mobile network operators, are also actively involved in NFC, with China Unicom favouring a mixture of phones with built-in NFC functionality and NFC add-ons and China Telecom widely adopting SIMpass NFC add-ons.

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