SIM Local News

May 25, 2018

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Why are digital payments so popular in China?

WeChat Wallet and Alipay are the two main electronic wallets in China. WeChat Pay has wider coverage and can be used in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Africa; Alipay can be used in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong only.

According to a report published in 2016 from Worldpay, in China,  50% of transactions were processed via a digital wallet, debit card and credit card totalling an 11% market share each. Its estimated that in 2020, the market share of a debit card will increase to 13% and credit card will increase to 14%.

In addition, Worldpay’s report also predicts that in 2020, the overall size of the Chinese e-commerce market will reach 1,442 billion US dollars, double the US market (779 billion US dollars) and 9 times of the Japanese market (153 million US dollars). The rapid of development of e-commerce like Alibaba, Taobao, JD.com and WeChat e-shop etc also increase the market share of digital wallet dramatically.

You might wonder, how e-commerce influences the use of a digital wallet so much and not the usage of credit card. Besides government support, there are a few factors related to customers.

  1. In China, the use of credit card is not popular. The first credit card was issued by China Bank in 1985. As the credit system is not perfect, it is not easy for people to get one. However, it is much easier to create a bank account and link it to a digital wallet.

  2. Banknotes in China are always getting falsified. The government finds it difficult to control and manage as it is large liquidity. Digital wallets are more difficult to hack by hackers, meaning that people will not get fake money within the e-wallet.

  3. Lots of common applications and hardware are integrated with digital wallets. Vending machines and public transport ticketing machines are popular examples. chain-stores like Starbucks have also integrated their PoS or applications with digital wallets.

How to avoid abuse and to protect your digital wallets?

In China, mobile phone numbers and bank accounts use the real-name system. For authorisation purposes, users need to link their mobile phone number and bank account details to the digital wallets so that itis strong enough to avoid commercial fraud. All transactions are then recorded in the backend system of the E-wallet, providing additional transparency.

We can foresee that the usage of digital wallets will increase rapidly in China. Compared to using cash, a digital wallet is very handy – no coins, no fake money and no exchange. Also, the supporting facilities are doing very well to adapt and encourage people to use the digital wallet. Next time, when you have a chance to go to China, you will be amazed that you can do any type of purchases with your mobile phone only.

April 27, 2018

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing jobs?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing jobs?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasises the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. 

Machine Learning is a current application of AI based on the idea that we should just be able to give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.

For example, take Apple’s Siri and Google Now, the digital personal assistant. You can ask them any question and they will research the result in their database. If you ask Siri or Google Now; “Do I have any meeting today?”, they will look up your calendar and give you an answer – “You have a meeting with Mary at two o’clock this afternoon in your office.”. Of course, they cannot get the answer if you never save any meeting note in your account. You can also ask them any open question, such as “How to speak Hello in Chinese?”, they will search the answer at their database and reply “您好” to you.

AI applications are becoming universal and indispensable. Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder said, "AI can be our friend".  "What do you think will happen to human civilization with further development in AI technology?" Gates says the rise in artificial intelligence will mean society will be able to do more with less." AI is just the latest in technologies that allow us to produce a lot more goods and services with less labour. And overwhelmingly, over the last several hundred years, that has been great for society." explains Gates.

But which jobs will be replaced by AI?

Based on the landmark 2013 study that inspired “Will Robots Take My Job?” we’ve rounded up some of the marketing, administration and sales roles most likely to be replaced.


1. Telemarketers
The computing system can do the marketing analysis and contacts to target customers via a phone call to introduce the product with some simple interactions. Once the target customer is interested in the product, they can contact human customer services for further action.

2. Bookkeeping clerks
Accounting software is getting smart. Most of them can work with bank systems to do the bank reconciliations automatically, do ledgers more efficiently and generate final accounts with few clicks.

3. Compensation and Benefits Managers
Computing is good at analysing and calculation. It is easy enough to use computing to estimate the risk from the track record. Compensation and benefits managers will become an auxiliary role and most of the work will replace by AI.

4. Receptionists
Digital receptionists are popular in nowadays because the user can configure the software based on their needs. Let’s say a restaurant installs a digital receptionist at the front door, customers enter the number of the person and mobile number. The software will send an SMS to customers when their table is ready.

5. Couriers
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is widely used in the logistics field. It helps to identify the parcel and distribution to a right place. Also, it helps to update each shipping status to the system which reduces the cost and shorten the lead time.

Moreover, AI can be applied in our daily life in the future. Take for example the development of eSIM capabilities which is on the horizon in the next 2-3 years, imagine one day when you travel to a foreign country and tell Siri or Google Now “I want to buy a local eSIM with at least 5GB data for less than 20 euro.” Your phone assistant will show you a few suitable plans, you will be able to select a plan and pay with your mobile wallet. Everything will be installed, and you will be able to switch networks seamlessly.

Although AI seems to be replaced some jobs, it still helps us to improve our daily life. We Should embrace and make use of AI technologies to build a smarter and more efficient world.

 

April 12, 2018

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Travel to China – ChunYun

The People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometres (3,700,000 sq mi). There are over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. People celebrate with their family and usually have a reunion dinner. This occasion is called “ChunYun”. Chun means Spring and Yun mean transport. Chun Yun is The Spring Festival Transport Season.

According to the data from Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China, there are 2.98 billion passengers who go on a domestic trip to China. The number of passengers is expected to exceed 3 billion according to the forecast for 2018. Among them, 393 million passengers are expected to travel by rail to home this year.

Travel to China - ChunYun

People are waiting at Guangzhou station to buy a ticket to return home. People need to wait for few hours or even a day to buy a ticket. 

In 2018, the last batch of the 90s will reach the age of 18, the new working force in China. They have grown up with the rapid development of the Internet, are more likely to buy a ticket on the Internet. Also because of the help of artificial intelligence and big data, the third-party ticket-grabbing platforms are more convenient and intelligent, which can help passengers to grab a more comfortable train ticket while improving the success rate of grabbing votes. All the above factors will improve the ChunYun experience and the travellers' ability to get around.

During the Spring “Chun Yun” Festival, most of the shops and factories are closed as the staff travel home to be with their families. However, I wouldn’t be recommended you travel in China during this period as a tourist. However, if you planned to go China in ChunYun period, you can experience peaceful China where families unite and spend some quality time celebrating the Spring period

February 02, 2018

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Decoding cryptocurrency... Why not use it while you travel?

using-cryptocurrency-when-travelling

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange. Basically, it is in a digital format, and not physical cash. All the Cryptocurrencies are using decentralised control which works through a blockchain – meaning a public transaction database, functioning as a distributed ledger.

The first decentralised cryptocurrency is Bitcoin which was created in 2009. Until now, there are some popular cryptocurrencies worldwide – Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Ethereum.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency and has a high reputation because it is reliable, stable, secure, and long-lasting. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there will be 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.

Litecoin

Litecoin was inspired by, and technically is nearly identical to Bitcoin. The initial release was in 2011 and until late 2017, its market capitalisation was US$ 4,600,081,733. Litecoin is focused on delivering a viable cross-border payment platform that would surmount the substantial barriers currently in place.

Dogecoin

Dogecoin is a decentralised, peer-to-peer digital currency that enables you to easily send money online. Compared with other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin had a fast-initial coin production schedule: 100 billion coins were in circulation by mid-2015, with an additional 5.256 billion coins every year thereafter. As of 30 June 2015, the 100 billionth Dogecoin had been mined. In December 2017, it had a value of US$1 billion.

Ethereum

Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality. It is focused on running the programming code of any decentralised application. The Ethereum Virtual Machine makes the process of creating blockchain applications much easier and efficient than ever before.

 

So what are the advantages of Cryptocurrency?

  • Easy access – You can access your cryptocurrency wallet anytime anywhere
  • Quick and easy payment – No exchange and coins
  • Costs less – Transaction fee is low in comparison to SWIFT/SEPA
  • Highly secure – No one can make any payment from the wallet unless you are the owner
  • No boundaries – It is not under the control of any central bank

Nowadays, more and more shops are accepting cryptocurrencies for payment.  Shopify shop owners can turn on BitPay functions to enhance their shop competitively, travellers can book flights via CheapAir or Expedia’s - an online platform which accepts cryptocurrency and Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten also accepts it.  

Also, some of the worldwide chain restaurants like KFC (Canada region) and Subway are now accepting cryptocurrencies. This means that travellers don’t need to bring huge amounts of cash while travelling and it also and reduces international bank charges

Brisbane Airport (BNE) will soon become the first cryptocurrency airport terminal. The airport will partner with TravelbyBit, a cryptocurrency payment system, to allow travellers the ability to buy digitally.

The application of cryptocurrency will undoubtedly grow rapidly very soon. Travellers can travel around the world with a cryptocurrency wallet without limitations, so consider it before you take your next trip!

January 25, 2018

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5G is the future

5G is the future

Nowadays, most people are phone-addicted. They are always on the phone, using social networks, gaming, chatting, movie streaming etc. The demand for mobile network usage is increasing, as users seek a fast, stable and secure network – 5G. 5G is the Next Generation

Mobile Networks and defines the following requirements:

  • Data rates of tens of megabits per second for tens of thousands of users
  • Data rates of 100 megabits per second for metropolitan areas
  • 1 Gb per second simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor
  • Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for wireless sensors
  • Spectral efficiency significantly enhanced compared to 4G
  • Improved Coverage
  • Signalling efficiency enhanced
  • Latency is reduced significantly compared to LTE

Major different between 3G, 4G and 5G

 

3G

4G

5G

DEPLOYMENT

2004-05

2006-10

BY 2020

BANDWIDTH

2mbps

200mbps

>1gbps

TECHNOLOGY

Broadband with / CDMA/ IP technology

Unified IP and seamless combination of LAN/ WAN/ WLAN/ PAN

4G + WWWW

SERVICE

Integrated high-quality audio, video and data

Dynamic information access, variable devices

Dynamic information access, variable devices with all capabilities

 

Future of mobile network

2020 is the big year for 5G. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, in 2020, there will be a reach of 9 billion mobile connections and 6.2 billion subscribers globally. 5 million of which will be 5G subscribers, covering a 15% of global population. 5G applications will make use of enhanced mobile broadband, mission-critical services and Internet of Things (IoT).

Development status:

The EU has decided to develop a 5G broadband network technology that uses the 694Mhz to the 790Mhz frequency band and major telecommunications service providers will be able to obtain usage rights by the end of June 2020.

The British government announced an updated 5G development strategic plan in December 2017. They strive to ensure 95% geographic mobile coverage and the availability of essential services where people live, work and travel. Also, they are developing a model to secure fast, reliable mobile connectivity on main rail routes and major roads. Some large and midsize businesses are paying for the trial of 5G high-speed networks.

In the US, Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier is co-operating with a South Korean based company, Samsung, to deploy and tested 5G in five cities across the United States. T-Mobile US Inc plans to launch 5G in 2019, and complete the nation-wide infrastructure rollout by 2020.

5G development in mainland China is led by the government and is part of the governments 'Made in China 2025' strategy. Three of the major network providers have announced their 5G implementation schedule, and are striving to achieve a goal to be 5G network ready by 2020.

KT Corporation, South Korea's largest telephone company, is working with Ericsson and local network suppliers to run a 5G network pilot testing during Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do, in 2018.

Japan Telecom operators, including NTT Docomo, KDDI and Softbank, will officially provide 5G communications technology services by 2020, while nationwide deployments are scheduled for 2023. The total investment will reach 5 trillion yen (about 45.7 billion US dollars).

Overall, the progress of 5G in 2017 has achieved gratifying results. We believe that in 2018, there will be a bigger breakthrough.

January 15, 2018

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UK Local Sim Vs Roaming Sim

People always struggle when deciding which kinds of SIM card to use whilst travelling. Should you use your own SIM card and pay the roaming fee or buy a local SIM at the destination?

When you travel to the UK and buy a SIM card there, you will use the local rate. That’s what we call a “Local SIM”. The average price for data usage is €0.028/MB and €0.62/Min for a local call. Normally, the local rate should be better than roaming rate as the telecom providers provide the services to customers directly. What’s the difference? Let’s see.

Roaming in the UK

Different countries and suppliers will charge you at their own rate. And there a is huge difference between what they will charge you, versus what a local provider will charge you. Below is a summary of the roaming prices for  Asia, Africa, South America, North America and Oceania.

If you come from Asia, you will get the cheapest roaming rate. It is only cost you €0.13/MB for mobile data and €0.62/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). The second lowest region is Africa; it will cost you €0.16/MB of mobile data and €0.16/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). And the roaming price for Oceania SIM plans to the UK is 1MB mobile data or 1 minutes UK to the UK call for €0.33.

Unfortunately, if you are using a South America SIM plan and roaming in the UK, the price is much more expensive. The roaming data will cost you €8.89/MB and €1.21/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). It is 316% higher than using a local SIM for using mobile data.

But, this is not the most expensive. The roaming charge from a North America SIM plan to the UK is even higher. It is €12.77/MB and €1.27/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). For mobile data, it is 445% higher than using a local SIM. Can you imagine how terrifying it will be when you receive your phone bill after you return to your home country?

So why people are still using roaming?

Local SIM vs Roaming SIM

 

Local SIM

Roaming SIM

Phone number

New number

Own number

Number of countries

One

More than one

Easy to get a SIM?

Spend time to find a shop in an unfamiliar environment

No additional work, use own SIM

Coverage

Depends on one network provider

Some of the roaming SIMs can connect with more than one network provider

Price

Normally is cheaper

Sometimes low but sometimes EXTREMELY high

 

Why not go online to buy a local Sim card before you travel?

SIM Local (www.simlocal.com) provides a wide range of local SIM cards. You can choose a sim card based on your needs – text, data and call due to the “Roam like home” regulations within the EU. *You can use your texts, data and calls within all EU countries. If you are not sure which SIM is most suitable for you, contact our team via email, Facebook or Twitter. They will give you valuable advice.

Once you choose a product on our online shop, check-out with your credit card or PayPal and confirm your delivery address. The product can be delivered to your home address before your trip. Or alternatively, place the order online and pick up at our Heathrow shops

Our shops are located at Heathrow Airport T2, T3 and T5. Visit this link for their locations: http://partner.simlocal.com/our-locations

So, when you are planning your next trip, you might compare the prices and other points above to decide which type of SIM card will best suit you

*Prices are based in Vodafone UK, Vodacom, T-mobile, Tim, China Mobile and Virgin Mobile in 2017.

*Individual terms and conditions are applied to telecom suppliers.

 

April 15, 2015

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A Brief History of the SIM Card

SIM cards are one of the many examples of hidden technology that enable our daily lives in the modern world. The majority of people need to only think about and see their SIM card for a few minutes each time they upgrade their phone. Here at SIM Local, we think about and see SIM cards more often than the average person! While we appreciate that not everyone shares our obsession, we’ve picked out some of the more interesting facts to share with you today.

 

Starting on an unexpected note, did you know that the Zimbabwean government abandoned its currency in 2009 due to hyperinflation? At its most extreme, prices were doubling almost daily, with the quickest doubling on record being 24.7 hours. In November 2008, the rate of inflation was calculated at a staggering 79,600,000,000% per month. So what has that got to do with the phone in your pocket? The German company Giesecke & Devrient, who printed these bank notes for Zimbabwe, are the same company who made the first SIM cards. They sold the first batch in 1991, a very modest order of 300 SIM cards in comparison to the billions which exist globally today.

 

So who bought these SIM cards? It won’t come as a big surprise to find that it was the technologically advanced Scandinavians. Radiolinja, a company in Finland, achieved a number of additional firsts in the mobile space during the nineties:

 

  • 1991: The world’s first GMS call was placed, which was the start of what is now billions of daily phone calls. Give Giesecke & Devrient and Radiolinja a thought the next time you’re forced to listen to “hello? I’m on the train. THE TRAIN.”
  • 1993: The first person-to-person SMS text message was sent, launching thumb Olympics amongst teenagers worldwide.
  • 1996: The world’s first fixed-mobile service bundle was launched.
  • 1998: The world’s first ringtone was sold. In our current world of in-app purchases, Netflix and Kindles, it’s strange to think that the industry of digital downloadable content didn’t exist until this first ringtone sale 17 years ago.

 

Another thing that has changed in the world of SIM cards is their size. Following most technology trends, over the years they have become simultaneously smaller and more powerful. The original SIM cards were the same size as a credit card. If you think back to the last time you bought a new SIM card, you might recall that it came embedded in a credit card sized piece of plastic. This is because new SIM cards are required to be compatible with older models of phones. While one of the original phones would be hard to track down today, theoretically you could install your entire credit card packaging with your modern SIM card still attached, and the phone would work. There’s something to remember if you ever find yourself in a Back to the Future scenario!

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