NFC rollout in Chongqing
To begin with, Cqpass is acting as an almost exact functional alternative to Chongqing's existing Yucheng Tong Card, of which 700,000 are currently in circulation. This allows customers to pay for bus rides, cable car rides, hotels, leisure activities and restaurant meals. It also features transaction record query and card number display.
In 2009, the project will start the development of its second stage of application that would link the subscriber’s bank account to enable the OTA (over-the-air) top-up functionality.
Stakeholders in the project include:
- China Unicom, mobile operator, with 127.6 million subscribers for its GSM cellular businesses, including 10 million are Chongqing residents,
- Chongqing Yucheng Transportation Card, manager of the multi-function card system of Chongqing, which now has 700,000 cards in circulation.
- Guohong Telecom and Digital Group, mobile phone manufacturer, which sold 8 million mobile phones in 2008,
- Watchdata, SIMpass smart card supplier.
Two handset models are available, the Changhong DG28, priced at CNY 759 (EUR 84) and the Changhong F4, priced at CNY 857 (EUR 95).
SIMpass, Watchdata NFC-enabled SIM, comes in two versions. In the first it is built into a handset as a secure element and in the second it is retrofitted to existing handsets (the company says it is compatible with 80% of handsets). Here, the antenna is connected to the SIMpass module and the SIMpass module itself is inserted as normal into the SIM slot on the phone. Attached to the SIM, though, is the antenna and the user simply removes the back cover of the phone and then places the antenna between the battery and the back cover where it can be kept securely.
SIMpass technology had already been used in a subway ticketing application in Guangzhou as well as in other Chinese systems in Xiamen, Dalian, Suzhou and Hunan province. SIMpass is also used in Thailand in an NFC application run by Thai network operator True Move.