updated 03:05 pm EST, Mon March 5, 2012
Carrier still unofficially supported
The number of iPhone users on China Mobile has reached 15 million, according to the carrier's chairman, Wang Jianzhou. The figure is notable because the only official iPhone carrier in China so far has been rival China Unicom. All of the Mobile iPhone subscribers are therefore using hacked and/or gray market devices, despite efforts to clamp down on unofficial sales. Apple now appears to be quietly supporting the carrier.
Because of network differences, iPhones used with China Mobile are restricted to 2G data. The situation should be remedied with the next-generation iPhone; Wang today reiterated statements that Apple and China Mobile are in talks towards supporting a 4G device. The next-generation iPhone is widely anticipated to support LTE, and Mobile is on the verge of building out an TD-LTE network.