China Mobile is itching to get their hands on the iPhone according to the FT (sub. req.) today.
The head of China Mobile has called on Apple to include Beijing’s home-grown standard for third-generation mobile services in the next generation of the iPhone, underscoring the growing pressures on the world’s largest mobile operator to attract 3G subscribers. The request comes amid fears that China Mobile risks falling behind rivals China Telecom and China Unicom – the only telecom operator in the country to have a distribution deal with Apple for the iPhone – in signing up subscribers. Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile chairman and chief executive, said at the group’s annual results yesterday that “including TD-SCDMA is not that hard to do – RIM is doing it”. But he added that Apple had not yet responded to his proposal.
China Mobile has over half a billion subscribers (almost double the US population) and Apple had already made the concession of taking out Wifi (only to put it back in) for China so they might have a shot. Also, Apple is hot for China.
Apple, however, seems to be loyal to its carrier partners no matter how lucrative building devices with different radios for competing carriers might be