John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

China Mobile’s Four Million iPhone Users Still Waiting for Official Apple Deal

Five years after beginning talks with Apple, China Mobile, China’s largest wireless phone operator, is still negotiating to add the iPhone to its smartphone lineup. It’s been slow going, to be sure, but some progress has been made.

During a Thursday news conference, China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said the two companies have reached some sort of consensus on the type of iPhone to be offered by the mobile services provider–a 4G TD-LTE version of the device.

Which is both good news and bad for China Mobile.

Good news in that it appears the carrier will finally get the iPhone, bad news in that the version it’s evidently getting won’t run on its current 3G TD-SCDMA network, but on its next generation 4G TD-LTE network, which won’t be fully lit up for 12-18 months. But when it is fully operational, and the carrier is able to sell an iPhone compatible with it, expect a surge in sales of the handset.

According to Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, China Mobile has more wireless subscribers than any carrier in the world, with 601 million at the end of March. And despite the lack of an official agreement with Apple, it has more than four million iPhone owners accessing its network in limited fashion via a special mini-SIM card. If four million China Mobile subscribers want an iPhone so badly that they’re willing to forgo 3G services to use it, how many more will purchase a working 4G version?

[Image Credit: NeonPunch]