Update: February 13, 2009 Reuters is reporting “China Mobile is quoted as saying it is still in talks with Apple for offering the iPhone through its network. It revealed no details but the company hopes to introduce the popular phone in the country shortly.”
According to a report by JLM Pacific Epoch, China Mobile is moving forward with plans to build their own app store to be called “Mobile Market“ (old news to regular iPhonAsia readers)… however, “China Mobile and Apple are currently negotiating iPhone cooperation” with Apple. The February 10th quote was attributed to China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou.
iPhonAsia has no good fix on what this “cooperation” might entail? Is a TD iPhone 3G still on the table? Does Apple want “in” on China Mobile’s TD-LTE 4G in 2011? I have already run about a dozen ideas though my weary brain … most are likely way off base, so I won’t bother posting until more clues emerge. Readers? Any thoughts? Comment and theorize away …
One reason for China Mobile to “cooperate” might be to hold on to existing iPhone customers in China. Consider that there are at least one million “real” iPhones now in China. The majority are iPhone 3G and they are virtually all current China Mobile subscribers on the EDGE 2.5G network. The current model iPhone 3G is not compatible with China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network, however it would be compatible with China Unicom’s W-CMDA 3G (network slated for launch on May 17, 2009). If China Unicom wins an iPhone deal, it’s likely they would go after these existing iPhone owners and entice them to upgrade (switch carriers) to a world standard 3G network. The majority of China’s iPhone owners are pre-pay (no contract) and it’s a snap to switch SIM cards and it gets even easier should China Unicom offer a special deal to existing iPhone owners … no iClones allowed.