Telecom: policy unity key

08:47, June 08, 2010      

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Lack of unified radio frequency identification (RFID) standards in China, complexity and unclear tax policies impede the development of payments made via cellular phones, a China Telecom Corp engineer said at Monday's 8th China RFID and Internet of Things International Summit held in Beijing.

"The existence of multiple RFID standards remains the challenge," said Jin Dongbin, deputy chief engineer of China Telecom.

Mobile phones with embedded RFID chips can serve as payment devices or "electronic wallets," enabling users to pay remotely at RFID-enabled point-of-sale terminals for transportation or goods.

Currently, two major frequency standards exist in domestic mobile payment: Near field communication promoted by China Union and SIM-Pass and used by China Telecom is based on short-range frequency 13.65MHz, while China Mobile promotes RF-SIM with a radio frequency of 2.4GHz.

"We hope that the unified RFID standards will be expedited by the relevant authorities," Jin said.

"So far we don't have any official national standards for RFID, but the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has been working on it," said Wang Lijian, technology director with the China Electronics Standardization Institute under the MIIT.

The complexity of mobile payment businesses run by the telecoms remains another problem in implementation, Jin said.

Mobile payment is a cross-sector application involving telecommunications, e-commerce and finance.
Currently, no single administrator or government agency has overall jurisdiction.

"Is the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Commerce or China UnionPay to review and approve this business?" Jin asked.

Cross-sector mobile payments also lead to tax problems, as the products sold via mobile payment include things like transportation, education, culture, recreation and other services.

"How the mobile payment operators pay taxes for the multiple streams of incomes remains unresolved," he said.

Once the policies are clear, it is the customer who will benefit from the convenience of mobile payments, Jin said.

Source: Global Times


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