Apple’s revenue from China during the past quarter came in at $3.8 billion and that number is poised to balloon even higher should Apple strike a deal to get the iPhone on China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier with over 600 million subscribers.
Late last week, CapitalVue reported that Apple finalized a deal with state-owned China Mobile and that the iPhone 4 will become available to its subscribers by the end of October. While the veracity of this story remains unknown, it’s no secret that Apple has been eying China with hungry eyes for some time now. One potential hurdle in bringing the iPhone to China Mobile is that the carrier employs a proprietary TD-SCDMA network. Consequently, Apple will need to modify its iPhone hardware to get its smartphone compliant with China Mobile.
“At China Mobile’s shareholder meeting,” the report goes on to say, “the company chairman stressed that Apple’s newest version of the iPhone will be TD-LTE-compliant.”
TD-LTE is China’s next-gen mobile network technology and it’s been previously reported that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had come around to supporting development of an iPhone to support the carrier’s network standard. Just a few weeks ago, Apple COO Tim Cook was spotted visitingChina Mobile headquarters where he reportedly met with China Mobile executives to discuss what else.. “bilateral cooperation for the iPhone.”
While time will tell if this report is accurate, there’s no question that Apple sees China Mobile as important source for revenue growth going forward. During Apple’s recent earnings conference call, Cook noted that Apple’s is just “scratching the surface” of what may prove to be an unprecedented boon for the company’s bottom line.
China Unicom is currently the only Chinese carrier that supports the iPhone, though Apple is rumored to have already struck a deal with China Telecom. Rumor has it that China Telecom will soon carry the iPhone 5 alongside a cheaper iPhone 4 model meant to broadly appeal to the low-end to mid-range market.