updated 10:05 am EDT, Wed May 16, 2012
Carrier losing subscribers due to native 3G standard
China Mobile is in talks with Apple to offer the iPhone, confirms Mobile chairman Xi Guohua. The executive made the statement on Wednesday at a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong, his first since replacing Wang Jianzhou, who retired in March. Apple has refused to comment, and Xi didn't elaborate much further at the meeting, saying he couldn't predict if a deal would be reached this year. "China Mobile and Apple both have the will to strengthen cooperation," he commented. "When there is more specific news, we will disclose it."
China Mobile is reportedly bleeding away some of its more data-hungry subscribers. For 3G the company opted to use a native standard rather than a regular variant of HSPA or EVDO; as a consequence some subscribers have opted to go alternative carriers China Unicom and China Telecom, where more popular smartphones are available, including the iPhone.
Mobile is believed to be counting on the deployment of a more compatible TD-LTE 4G network to regain subscribers. The carrier has in fact been negotiating for a TD-LTE iPhone since at least September 2011, which has reinforced rumors that the 2012 iPhone will support LTE as a flagship feature. The third-generation iPad already supports LTE, though only on Canadian and American bands.