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China Mobile pushes Apple to support local 3G standard

updated 01:30 pm EDT, Fri March 19, 2010

Carrier still attempting to seal iPhone deal

China Mobile has allegedly asked Apple to create a special version of the iPhone to support the carrier's local network technology, according to a Financial Times report. Chairman and chief executive Wang Jianzhou recently expressed hope to come to an agreement with Apple as soon as possible.

China Unicom currently offers the iPhone throughout the country, although the carrier utilizes the widespread GSM standard. China Mobile, however, chose to use the TD-SCDMA standard for 3G, which is only used for markets in China.

Jianzhou claims that "including TD-SCDMA is not that hard to do -- RIM is doing it." Industry sources, however, doubt that Apple will view RIM as a reason to cede to the carrier's request.

Although China Mobile's new subscriber updates at one time dominated the local industry, bringing in 95 percent of new customers, the company's share has suffered a significant drop in the past year. Industry sources suggest competition in the 3G market is to blame, as China Mobile is only one of three carriers to use the TD standard.

Despite Jianzhou's request, the CEO admits that Apple has yet to respond.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    There are people saying that the iPhone

    has become an ageing relic compared to all the Android smartphones and there are those that are saying the iPhone has totally run out of sales steam. A Chinese carrier begging for Apple to build them a specialized iPhone does not sound like the iPhone is no longer in demand. I don't know what it takes for Apple to build a specialized iPhone, but I tend to agree that if RIM can do it, then so can Apple. Potentially, the Chinese market is just too large to ignore. However, maybe Apple's iPhone team resources are already tapped out and it will be just too time-consuming a task when they have all their other product line-up that needs to be taken care of. Apple knows best, so I won't second-guess them.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sorry China!

    Apple can't do this. As we know here in America, it is not economically feasible for Apple to build another model of iPhone (here it is CDMA that is missing). Your users wouldn't be able to use it all over the world, as they use a different 3G standard. And, like CDMA (which will disappear in about 5-10 years), your 3G has a very limited life-span, so there's just no upside to it.

    Sorry, you'll have to stick with China Unicom for your phone usage. Just like Americans being stuck with ATT.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    China Market

    China Mobile might have 521 million 'subscribers', but it is highly doubtful that Apple covets competing for a market of $10 handsets.

    At most Apple could hope for 1/2 percent of the China Mobile market - at most - which at 2.5 million is not worth Apple's effort.

    This landscape will change once China goes 4G, and *IF* their 4G standard is compatible with the rest of the world (which is doubtful), but that won't be for another 5 years.

    Until then, China Unicom is a far better partner for Apple in China, as it aims to the more premium oriented market, and not for China Mobile's low hanging fruit.

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