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New functions for Beijingers' cellphone

Date: 2012-12-12

New cellphone technology may allow Beijingers to use their phone to pay for small items and subway rides from next year, the developers told the Global Times Tuesday.

Zhang Chu, telecom product director from Watchdata, owner of SIMpass-SC technology, told the Global Times he believes it will bring extra convenience to Beijingers.

"It's exactly the same size as a normal SIM card but has more functions. You can make phone calls with it, and make small payments for shopping and transportation tickets. It is exactly like the public communication card Beijingers are using currently," said Zhang, adding the SIM card can also be used as a campus card and door key card.

"We're cooperating with the Beijing branch of China Telecom now, and we hope it will go into use in 2013," said Zhang, adding that the SIM card would not be sold alone, but included in monthly sales plans.

Ding Junnan, a researcher from China Telecom's Beijing branch, said they are cooperating with Watchdata, but due to practical concerns, the company is still considering whether to offer it to customers.

"The cost of the SIMpass-SC is much higher than a traditional SIM card, and moreover, we have found the signal it carries is weaker than a traditional communication card. So we're still waiting," Ding said. 

The card has two accounts, one for phone calls and one for transportation, Ding added, saying customers need to top them up separately.

Similar technology has been successfully used in other cities, including Yangzhou and Taizhou in Jiangsu Province, and Watchdata intends to promote it nationwide.(Global Times)