iPhonAsia comment: Here (below) is the editor’s reply to a post on AppleInsider re the Nano iPhone. Note that iPhonAsia considers the Nano iPhone to be an outside chance. But we do see two new iPhone deals in PRC in 2009.
“IT’S CLEAR CLEAR CLEAR!!! This is the phone that they will start selling in China. That explains everything.”
This is total guesswork but …
This all begins to make more sense if you consider that the Nano iPhone might have been specially built for China Mobile.
There are many reasons why a “Nano” iPhone does not make sense (e.g. screen too small, at least by Western Standards) … yet there are reasons why it might fly in the Far East . Consider that this could be a low price “customized” model designed in concert with China Mobile (see >”customization” for back story re Accenture’s involvement). This model would be EDGE 2.75G and TD-SCDMA 3G ready and would support Monternet – China Mobile’s VAS platform. No iTunes, no AppStore. China Mobile is building their own app store and they are subsidizing all TD ready handsets authorized in China. Of China Mobile’s 400+ million users, approximately 290 million are pre-paid users (no contract). Many pre-paid users aspire to iPhone but many cannot afford without a price incentive (China Mobile subsidy to go on contract).
This rumored deal to build a customized TD iPhone for China Mobile flies in the face of Apple’s model for doing business with all other world carriers. In many ways it’s hard to fathom and I wouldn’t blame anyone for saying “no way!” However, this customized model may be a pre-requisite for doing business in China’s highly controlled handset market. China Mobile’s parent company CMCC is majority state owned (by China) and they need to get the new TD-SCDMA network off to a fast start. It has been a struggle thus far and cool handsets are key.
IMHO Apple will not do an exclusive deal with China Mobile. The next deal TBA will be with China Unicom , who will be launching their W-CDMA 3G network mid-May 2009. This will be a more standard model iPhone 3G, which already supports W-CDMA 3G.
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