iPhone by the Millions on China Mobile and all unlicensed

China Mobile does not have an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in China but apparently this hasn’t stopped people from using the iPhone on the China Mobile network with the network apparently having some 10-million iPhone users, which is still only a small proportion of the carrier’s 630 million subscribers.

According to an article over on Apple Insider by way of Reuters, Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile chairman has stated, “We have not yet got an agreement with Apple. The total number of iPhones in China Mobile’s network has reached 10 million — we didn’t pay any subsidies.”

Furthermore Jianzhou has stated that Apple has promised to deliver an iPhone that is compatible with China Mobile’s TD-LTE network when Apple deliver the next iPhone, presumably the iPhone 5, although there is no word on just when that might be.

Jianzhou said, “Apple promised to provide, when they develop the iPhone for LTE, that it will include TD-LTE. We are discussing the details.”

China Mobile is currently developing their next generation TD-LTE network of which Jianzhou says there could be commercial trials in some cities next year.

China Mobile’s LTE network isn’t compatible with the current iPhone, but apparently most of the carrier’s customers only use basic talk and text services, and the carrier had over 630 million subscribers as of the end of September.

Currently the only carrier in China to officially offer the iPhone is China Unicom, although Jianzhou did note that he had personally met with the late Steve Jobs on several occasions to talk about offering a TD-LTE compatible iPhone.

I figure the one thing we can take away from what China Mobile’s chairman has said is that Apple must be working on delivering the next iPhone sporting LTE compatibility as I can’t see Apple coming up with an LTE capable iPhone for China and not the rest of the world can you.

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