Mobike plans to partner with AT&T and Qualcomm as it rolls out its smart bike rental service across the US. The partnerships with the US companies will help it keep in line with the authorities there and the move suggests the bike company could be developing a single model for global rollout.

Mobike has released a statement to announce its plans to use Qualcomm’s LTE Internet of Things (IoT) modems on AT&T’s 4G LTE network to pair with the app for location and unlocking services. They will also help with navigating back to “Mobike Preferred Locations,” though Mobike was not immediately available to clarify what these may be.

The Qualcomm modems embedded in the bikes will have global navigation satellite system (GNSS) positioning, using the GPS service in the US. Using AT&T will let Mobike capture the huge amounts of data about its users it is fond of collating and run incentives schemes to encourage riders to relocate bikes to the parts of the city they’re needed more. The data will also be used to help Mobike work with city planners.

The model built with components and capabilities from the new partners could form a single bike for global use. “The MDM9206 LTE modem is purpose-built to support global multimode capabilities and global spectrum bands which solve complexity challenges, and allows global IoT providers such as Mobike to adopt a single SKU approach and bring cost effective services to market quicker,” said Vieri Vanghi, vice president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies.

Mobike may currently be operating more than 7 million bikes across over 160 cities globally, but any new model developed as a one-size-fits-all product would not be welcome in some Chinese cities. A growing number of places such as Shanghai and Beijing have already banned the introduction of any further hire bicycles on their streets.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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