China Mobile Getting Desperate for iPhone, iPad Deal?
Four years after starting talks with Apple, China Mobile, China’s largest wireless phone operator, is still seeking to add the iPhone to its smartphone lineup. But these days, the company sounds a bit more optimistic about a deal. During a Thursday news conference, China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou said the carrier hopes to soon sell a version of the iPhone that supports its TDSCDMA (time division synchronous code division multiple access) network, as well as Apple’s iPad.
“We’re hoping we’ll come to an agreement on the iPhone as soon as possible,” Wang said. “We will continue to express our interest in the iPhone. But not just the iPhone, also the iPad.”
Of course, China Mobile (CHL) has been expressing interest in the iPhone for years now, with little to show for it. But perhaps the company is feeling a new sense of urgency now that rival China Unicom (CHU) and Apple (AAPL) are rumored to be discussing plans for a Wi-Fi-enabled version of the iPhone, something that was previously impossible because of a government regulation prohibiting the sale of Wi-Fi devices that don’t support China’s homegrown WAPI wireless standard.
As iPhonAsia.com’s Dan Butterfield recently noted in an interview with NeonPunch, “China Mobile is already suffering leakage of grey-market iPhone subscribers who are ‘upgrading’ to China Unicom’s faster WCDMA 3G network. Grey-market iPhone owners had heretofore been using their real (but illicitly obtained) iPhones on China Mobile’s EDGE 2G network. If the rumored (fourth gen) iPhone for China Unicom includes the WAPI/WiFi combo, this could greatly accelerate iPhone adoption and put pressure on China Mobile to respond with an iPhone offering of their own.”
[ Image Credit: NeonPunch]