China's second largest mobile service operator, China Unicom, has launched a new prepaid payments service in cooperation with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and YeePay.

The new service, which is called YeePay Timely Recharge, enables users to prepay their phone bills with a bank card and is intended to help them form the habit of paying through a mobile phone.

By utilizing the traditional cooperation pattern between a mobile operator and financial institution in which a user's mobile phone number is bound with that of their bank card for paying a service, the companies say YeePay Timely Recharge is safer and more convenient because the pre-payment is done through a special phone number (96533) instead of via short message or WAP.

Analysts quoted in local media say that China Unicom will make its service more enjoyable to users by combining this service with the phone calling promotions.

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