Nice article Ryan …
I thought it was interesting to read recent comments from China Mobile’s CEO re Apple’s App Store … Wang Jianzhou gave Apple and Steve Jobs kudos for the tremendous success with the iPhone and App Store. Yet it is apparent that China Mobile wants to control the entire wireless value added services platform. Wang Jianzhou has hinted about building their own App Store and even a wireless handset operating system (Android based) that supports China Mobile’s Monternet VAS.
Few handsets today are delivering a superior net browsing experience and China Mobile is none too pleased with the initial crop of TD-SCDMA ready handsets (when people don’t like your network, blame the phone). They have high hopes for the forthcoming crop of TD-SCDMA models from Nokia, HTC/Android and the rumored but yet to be confirmed TD iPhone 3G from Apple.
My hope is that Apple will have two iPhone deals in China … One with China Mobile … the aforementioned “customized” TD iPhone 3G, and a second deal with China Unicom to deliver a more standard iPhone 3G.
China MIIT has dropped several recent hints over issuance of all three 3G licenses within the next 90 days. I wouldn’t hold my breath … but it is looking like this just might happen. China Unicom has also hinted that they will be ready to launch their W-CDMA network by mid-2009. This will bring some legitimate competition to China’s mobile market.
It’s my belief that China Unicom would be more willing to give free reign to handset makers’ services and innovations – such as Apple’s (e.g. App Store, Mobile Me, Wifi, iTunes [someday] and in the future “wave-pay”)
In my view China Mobile attempting to control the entire VAS ecosystem is not going to work for many hundreds of millions of wireless customers and China Mobile stands to lose customers to China Unicom and China Telecom if they insist on over-customization and total control of handsets.
~ Dan Butterfield, iPhonAsia