China Mobile Ltd said it’s still in talks with Apple Inc. to sell iPhones amid mounting industry speculation that the pair are about to announce a deal to net the technology giant hundreds of millions of potential new customers.
Xi Guohua, the chairman of China Mobile Ltd., the world's largest mobile phone carrier, said on Wednesday morning that his company had no announcement to make on any deal to carry Apple's smartphones. Xi was speaking to reporters during a break from a conference in Guangzhou, a southern city of China.
Reuters interprets that the deal is still in negotiation stages. The rationale behind the steps in negotiations to get millions of Chinese to buyers to Apple lies in the technology that needs to be implemented.
In China mobile phone users are on the 2G network. These phones are more of a ‘feature phone’ than smartphone.
Currently, 4G has been approved in China but is not in effect, yet.
As the new 4G network rolls out then people will be able to use the latest Apple models, the 5 c and 5 s, on the network as they do indeed support TD-LTE, the technical standard that network is using. However, without a deal between the two companies no one can use an iPhone on the 3G parts of the network.
China Mobile uses TD-SCDMA and Apple has designed one that can work on it and Apple has the approval for its use in China, but it is not released.
A deal with China Mobile would bring several billion dollars to Apple. At the same time Apple’s rival remains Samsung, the Korean neighbor of China.
Xi also told the conference that China Mobile plans sales of 190 to 220 million handsets next year. He said the company intends to step up subsidies to cover the cost of handset sales after spending 27 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) in 2013, according to the company's official account on the Sina Weibo microblogging service.