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China Mobile confirms TD-LTE dealings with Apple

China Mobile, the country’s largest wireless operator, confirmed today that it had “reached consensus” with Apple related to support for their fourth-generation TD-LTE radio technology in future iPhones. The carrier’s chairman Wang Jianzhou told MarketWatch that his company will begin commercial trials of the 4G TD-LTE technology next year, but refused to provide a time-frame for a possible 4G LTE iPhone launch in the country.

China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said talks with Apple on launching the iPhone remain ongoing. He also declined to elaborate on exactly what has been agreed with Apple.

Interestingly, the executive said his company has detected some four million iPhone ownersrs on its network even though only China Unicom is officially carrying the handset in the country. This latest development doesn’t necessarily make iPhone 5 a 4G LTE-enabled device and here’s why…

A bunch of mixed reports have been adding up to the overall confusion lately. Recently, the rumor mill speculated Apple won’t bother supporting LTE technology in iPhone 5 due to the limited availability of the fourth-generation LTE wireless standard in the US and around the world. US carriers are expected to complete commercial roll out of 4G LTE networks by the end of 2012, meaning Apple probably won’t add 4G LTE support until a sixth-generation iPhone at the earnest. In addition, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported yesterday that a 4G LTE iPhone is not in the cards yet due to low yield rates of the supporting chips from Qualcomm.

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