China Mobile in talks with Apple for iPhone
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Mobile, the world's biggest telecom carrier
by subscribers, said on Wednesday it is negotiating with Apple Inc to
carry the popular iPhone in China.
China Mobile is the only Chinese operator that does not officially carry
the iPhone because its homegrown 3G technology is not supported by the
chips used in current iPhone models.
Analysts have said next-generation iPhones will likely use a Qualcomm Inc
chip that would support China Mobile's network, removing the key
technology barrier for a deal.
"We've been actively talking to Apple on how we can cooperate," China
Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua, who assumed the post in March, told a
shareholders meeting. "I can't give you too many details, but I'd like to
repeat that both sides do hope to boost our cooperation," Xi added after
He made the comments in response to a question about when China Mobile
would sign a deal for the iPhone. Rivals China Unicom and China Telecom
have already signed contracts with Apple.
Xi also said China Mobile is trying to expand its services outside
mainland China by offering 4G services in Hong Kong this year and is
hoping to provide mobile service between the United States and China.
However, media reports have said U.S. authorities might deny its
application due to security concerns.
"We want to become a more global company. For that to happen, we are
interested in tapping other markets such as Hong Kong and the United
States," Xi said.
"We have applied to the United States for a license, but it's not been
rejected yet. Rather, it's undergoing the relevant procedure. We hope the
U.S. government will give us their approval soon for us to expand our
China Mobile also said it was expanding tests of its latest generation
TD-LTE mobile network. The company has completed initial testing with 850
base stations in six cities, such as Hangzhou in China's east, and
expects to complete the next phase of tests by June 2013, executives said
earlier this year.
TD-LTE refers to "time division long-term evolution" technology that
allows for more voice connections, faster data speeds and easier network
China Mobile executives said on Wednesday the trials will be expanded to
10 cities, including Beijing, with the number of base stations increasing
to more than 20,000 this year.
There are now 72 LTE operators that have launched commercial services,
including 25 networks launched so far in 2012, according to a May report
by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).
Commercial LTE services are already available in Asia in Australia, Hong
Kong, India, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea, the GSA
China Mobile shares are up about 13 percent this year, outperforming the
Hang Seng Index's rise of about 5 percent.