Business, Economics and Jobs

China Mobile may offer Apple iPhone soon


Chinese police raided two warehouses in Wuhan, Hubei province, belonging to a company named "Apple China," and seized 681 portable gas cooking stoves branded with the iPhone name and Apple logo.

China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile phone network, could soon offer its customers the Apple iPhone.

Today Online cited China Mobile's new chairman Xi Guohua as saying at a shareholder's meeting in Hong Kong that the two companies were in talks.

"China Mobile and Apple both have the will to strengthen cooperation," Mr Xi said. "When there is more specific news, we will disclose it."

Xi couldn't promise the iPhone would be offered this year.

Other operators such as China Unicom and China Telecom have already signed contracts with Apple, according to TelecomLead.

Compatibility issues between the iPhone and China Mobile's 3G network mean that Apple's handsets only work on the much slower 2G service, according to the BBC.

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However, China Mobile is soon to adopt the 4G standard, pilot testing services in up to 10 cities and coinciding with the launch of the next iPhone.

China Mobile will add 20,000 base stations to the 900 it tested last year, chief executive officer Li Yue reportedly told the meeting. If the trial is a success, the total number of 4G base stations will climb to 200,000 next year.

The carrier is counting on the shift to a fourth-generation wireless network to stem a decline in market share, Bloomberg reported.

About 15 million of China Mobile's customers are thought to be iPhone users already — out of a total of 660 million customers.