Yesterday, it was reported that China’s second largest carrier, China Telecom, will start offering the iPhone 4S on March 9th. Rumors of Apple offering the iPhone on the largest mobile carrier in the world, China Mobile, has been all over the place. Now, according to Reuters, China Mobile officials are “aggressively negotiating” a deal with Apple, but due to a technical limitation the offering remains a roadblock. China Mobile uses a non-standard unique 3G wireless technology, which is causing the roadblock. The network uses their own 3G technology called TD-SCDMA, which is a technology Apple doesn’t currently support on its iPhones.
With over 600 million subscribers, China Mobile is the largest mobile carrier in the world, which means there is a significant opportunity for Apple. That compares to the 117 million total subscribers at China Telecom, which was announced as a new official iPhone carrier yesterday.
Just to put the opportunity in perspective, the total number of mobile subscribers in China are expected to pass 1 billion this year alone! Last quarter, Tim Cook described China’s demand for the company’s products, particularly the iPhone, as “staggering.”