Mobile Ticket Payment Launches in China

(20 Oct 2010, BWCS Staff)

Chinese commuters will be able to use their mobile phones for payment on the bus or subway from next month, according to reports in the local press. The new scheme, backed by China Unicom, will go into formal commercial use in four major urban areas: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing and will only be available to Unicom customers.

To use the service some subscribers may have to upgrade their handsets, the operator admitted. The mobile payment account will be independent of the monthly tariff and will have a capacity of up to Yuan 1000.

Last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) in the UK completed the first mobile phone ticketing trial using the government-mandated ITSO interoperable smartcard standard. According to reports on the website, the six month trial was held in the north-west of England and involved two separate bus companies. However, only a relatively small number of passengers were included in the pilot scheme. The 36 regular travelers who participated in the trial used near-field communication (NFC)-enabled mobile phones to pay for their tickets.

The DfT said the test was to see how viable it is to use an NFC phone as an ITSO ticket carrier. At the same time the government department wanted to prove that ITSO-compliant products can be remotely loaded onto NFC phones as well as validated by NFC-enabled customer devices. Some developments carried out during the trial have led to the creation of cheaper ticket inspection devices, as well as changes to the ITSO specification to facilitate remote sales.


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