China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou recently intimated that Apple has given a thumbs up to producing an iPhone capable of running on China Mobile’s proprietary TD-LTE network.
In a recent interview touching upon Apple’s interest in delivering a TD-LTE capable phone, Jianzhou explained that “China Mobile and Apple hope to find a solution for close collaboration”.
“We discussed this issue with Apple,” Jianzhou added, “we hope Apple will produce a new iPhone with TD-LTE. We have already got a positive answer from Apple.”
The iPhone has already proven to be a hit on China Unicom, China’s second largest carrier, and Apple is rumored to be bringing the iPhone to both China Mobile and China Telecom this Fall, China’s top and third largest carriers respectively.
Apple has been interested in China Mobile and it’s 600+ million subscribers for quite some time, though concrete rumors of a finalized deal didn’t surface until earlier this Summer. Again, the lingering roadblock in securing a deal was that Apple would have to deliver new hardware to run on China Mobile’s network.
At a shareholder meeting this Summer, a China Mobile executive stated quite confidently that Apple’s “newest version of the iPhone will be TD-LTE-compliant.”
What’s more, Apple’s Tim Cook was spotted at China Mobile headquarters this Summer, a visit which was followed by a report that Steve Jobs had personally met with top China Mobile executives to discuss an iPhone compliant with China Mobile’s network standard.
Analysts believe that getting the iPhone onto all three major Chinese carriers may prove to be a $70 billion opportunity for Apple.
The next-gen iPhone will likely not be 4G so we’ll wait and see if the iPhone on China Mobile is, in fact, LTE complaint or if it will run exclusively on China Mobile’s TD-CDMA network.