Feeds

Electro-plaster points China Unicom mobes at 3G

Cunning 2G upgrade is a sticky business

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

China Unicom has created a roaming agreement to offload 2G customers, achieved using a carefully placed sticker instead of mucking about with contracts and signed deals.

The trick is accomplished with an electronic plaster that intercepts communication with the SIM, returning details of Unicom's network when data connections are requested and available, but passing 2G requests to the existing operator's SIM. In this way, it provides the customer with 3G speed when possible, and coverage all of the time.

The announcement comes from 91.com, and we're indebted to Penn Olson for the translation and an image showing how the sticker wraps around the customer's existing SIM.

Fitting may be fiddly, but the end result is much the same as happens in the UK with Three. Three only has a 3G network in the UK, and is well off national coverage, so customers drop onto the Orange (2G) network where necessary.

But Three pays Orange for that service, and pays for every call routed over the Orange network. So much so that Three is switching off roaming wherever it can where its 3G network has what it considers to be adequate coverage.

China Unicom has managed to do the same thing, only without signing an agreement with any other operator and expecting the customer to pay for the roamed-to network as well as the subscription with China Unicom, which will be quite a coup if customers go for it.

It's important because China Unicom is (officially) the exclusive operator for the iPhone, but hasn't the national coverage most people need. That lack of coverage has pushed 7.44 million Chinese iPhone owners onto China Mobile's network, where they don't have any 3G at all (due to incompatible 3G standards) but can make and receive calls as well as using GPRS for their data.

Fit the sticker, which comes in SIM and Micro SIM versions, and one's iPhone will attach to China Unicom's 3G network when it's available, dropping back to China Telecom (and 2G connectivity) everywhere else.

One still has to arrange to have calls forwarded to China Unicom when the phone is on that network, which the operator claims isn't a problem though it admits that text messaging is not seamless. But for pure innovative cleverness it's remarkable, showing (if nothing else) that the Chinese aren't limited to copying ideas developed elsewhere. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.