China Mobile doesn’t officially offer the iPhone yet. But it is carrying 10 Million iPhones on its network according to Reuters.
“We have not yet got agreement with Apple,” Wang said on the fringes of the ITU World telecoms fair in Geneva. “Apple promised to provide, when they develop the iPhone for LTE, that it will include TD-LTE. We are discussing the details.”
There had been rumors that Apple would offer a TL-LTE version of the iPhone 4S earlier this year with China Mobile going as far as saying:
China Mobile and Apple hope to find a solution for close collaboration. We discussed this issue with Apple. We hope Apple will produce a new iPhone with TD-LTE. We have already got a positive answer from Apple.
It appears that positive answer wasn’t for this round of devices, though the CDMA Verizon iPhone arrived off schedule in January. TD-LTE will require some separate chips which could be hard to fit inside the iPhone 4S’s enclosure. Apple however has to look longingly at that 600 million+ subscriber base, however.
While T-Mobile USA is on the opposite end of the subscriber spectrum (China Mobile has around the same amount of subscribers as the populations of Europe and the US combined), T-Mobile is the #4 carrier in the US in the midst of AT&T attempting to swallow it.
But they both don’t officially offer the iPhone, yet have a significant number of iPhones floating around on their network. Both offer a different type of high speed 4G network that stock iPhone 4Ses can’t take advantage of. Both networks do offer EDGE/GSM speeds however which some may find valuable tied with reduced fees or better coverage. T-Mobile told us earlier this year that they had over a million iPhones on their network, a figure that is likely to go up with Apple sneakily offering iPhones 4S unlocked at launch.
- Apple already selling unlocked, contract-free iPhone 4S in the United States (9to5mac.com)
- Wedbush: LTE iPhone coming 2012 with “materially improved user interface” (9to5mac.com)
- Apple appears to affirm TD-LTE iPhone for world’s biggest carrier (9to5mac.com)
- AT&T says it activated one million iPhone 4S units as of Tuesday (9to5mac.com)
- Swedish carrier: iPhone 5 will be “run over by the others” unless Apple adopts 4G LTE (9to5mac.com)
- China Mobile had secret iPhone meetings with Steve Jobs (9to5mac.com)
- Apple to release 4G TD-LTE iPhone, China Mobile allegedly confirms (9to5mac.com)