TD-SCDMA Stories October 9, 2013

China Mobile cell tower

While a possible deal with China Mobile, one of the world’s largest telecoms, was rumored for quite sometime leading up to launch of the new iPhones, the company said in August that it was still working out “commercial and technical issues” with Apple. Today, Bloomberg points us to an Apple job listing in China that provides some evidence that the company is indeed preparing to launch the iPhone on the carrier’s network:

The manager, who will be based in Beijing, will “support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones,” Apple said in an advertisement on its China website. The position seeks experience with TD-SCDMA, China Mobile’s own third-generation standard that isn’t used by other carriers.

On top of TD-SCDMA, the job listing is also seeking an engineer with experience in TD-LTE, which is the LTE standard that China Mobile has quickly been rolling out. Back in August the often reliable KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo claimed that Apple was ramping up TD-LTE supported iPhone 5c production and estimated that the iPhone 5s and 5c on China Mobile could account for penetration of 25% and 35% of total shipments for the two devices. Currently the carrier has approximately 756 million subscribers, around 63% of the 1.2 billion wireless subscribers in China. expand full story

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Reuters reported this morning that top brass from China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by both subscribers and market valuation, and Apple’s head honcho Steve Jobs met “several times on introducing an iPhone based on its network standard”. Did Jobs travel incognito or was he accompanying Apple’s operations wizard Tim Cook during his China tour (snapped paparazzi-style in the shot below)?

More likely, Jobs probably hosted China Mobile reps in Cupertino.

Interestingly, China Mobile counts a cool 7.44 million iPhone users on its network, although it doesn’t carry the handset yet and iPhone users cannot tap 3G speeds on their TD-SCDMA 3G network.

Apple’s been alleged previously as wanting to release an iPhone optimized for China Mobile’s fourth-generation TD-LTE network. The Wall Street Journal chimed in with sources saying the gadget maker and China Mobile are close to cutting a deal set to open up the carrier’s 600+ million subscribers to Apple’s phone. The highest-level meeting isn’t surprising considering that Apple is only “scratching surface” in China, having reported in the June quarter a sixfold growth in the country for a total of $3.8B in revenues from operations in the country.

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