iPhone 5 mockup, first published by TechVulture

China Mobile’s chairman Wang Jianzhou went on the record (again) to sort of confirm that an iPhone version for their fourth-generation TD-LTE network is coming. Bloomberg has the quote:

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.

You may recall China Mobile recently all but confirmed TD-LTE dealings with Apple. Back in January, their boss said in no vague terms that Apple will support TD-LTE. 4G TD-LTE is not to be confused with 4G LTE. The two radio technologies are incompatible and TD-LTE is mostly used in Asia. China Mobile’s third-generation TD-SCDMA network also doesn’t support current iPhones as this radio technology is incompatible with CDMA used by Verizon Wireless in the United States.

Regardless, China Mobile counts a cool 8.5 million iPhone users who surf the web on its second-generation data network or wireless hotspots, Wang confirmed. That’s an impressive number, especially in the light of one million iPhone users on T-Mobile’s USA network as of June. The issue of iPhone in China is dominating the headlines lately. For example…

Reuters reported that Steve Jobs was having secret meetings with China Mobile’s top dogs on numerous occasions. At the same time, rival China Telecom is apparently gearing up for a $235 million iPhone ad blitz dubbed ‘Dragon Plan’ and has already begun taking pre-orders. Just this month conflicting pieces of information asserted Apple may or may not bring iPhone to both China Telecom and China Mobile. Apple is doing business with China Unicom only, the country’s third-largest wireless operator. China Telecom and China Mobile, understandably, are dying to carry Apple’s iconic handset and are even deploying own cheap smartphones to corner Apple into a deal. China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier with more than 621 million customers. Following its purchase of China Unicom’s CDMA operations in November 2008, China Telecom overtook Verizon Wireless in the first half of this year to become the world’s largest CDMA operator with 108 million subscribers.

About the Author