China’s second-largest mobile operator China Unicom is partnering with media company Tencent to launch a SIM card next month for the Over-The-Top (OTT) player’s WeChat messaging app, according to Telecomasia.net.
The SIM will include a data package for WeChat and related services and is the latest example of a rapprochement between operators and OTT players.
The card will go on sale 8 August in Guangdong province, where Tencent has struck a deal with the local arm of China Unicom.
Local reports suggest the operator’s subscribers will pay CNY36 ($5.90) per month in return for the SIM, separate from their monthly data package.
The partnership follows tensions earlier this year between Tencent and the country’s three mobile operators, which have pressed for payment in return for the amount of WeChat messaging traffic they carry.
Interestingly, a few months ago, Ma Huateng, chairman of Tencent, said the company was unlikely to charge for its messaging app, although he did say the company had found “preliminary solutions” to the OTT issue following talks with mobile operators.