Did a google news search on this. From my own experience, prepaid phone card is very popular in China. I have used those from time to time when I visit China. I believe most of China Mobile (NYSE: CHL) subscribers are prepaid customers, which is opposite to the AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers in the US (where most customers have a calling plan and pay monthly).
T-mobile is doing a $25 prepaid card promotion on its prepaid phone. T-mobile is a distant 4th wireless carrier in the US, and it’s trying to take advantage of the recession to get more customers. Sprint is doing similar things with its boostmobile subsidiary.