China Telecom reportedly in talks with Apple to become China’s second iPhone carrier

“China Telecom, the smallest of China’s three wireless carriers, may become the second Chinese operator to offer Apple’s popular iPhone after an exclusive agreement with one of its rivals expires, local media reported on Friday,” Doug Young reports for Reuters.

MacDailyNews Note: China Telecom has 43 million mobile subscribers. For reference, in the U.S., Verizon Wireless has over 92 million subscribers, AT&T Mobility has over 90 million, Sprint has about 48 million,, and T-Mobile has approximately 34 million.

Young reports, “China Unicom, the nation’s No.2 carrier, is the only Chinese carrier selling the iPhone, but its exclusivity deal with Apple is likely to expire early next year, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a Deutsche Bank analyst note. That would open up the way for China Telecom, which operates a 3G network based on a standard called CDMA 2000, to offer iPhones, as Apple prepares to launch an iPhone model that runs on that standard, the paper said. Unicom began offering the iPhone 4 in China late last month, and said that pre-orders for the popular phone exceeded 200,000 units in the first two days it became available.”

MacDailyNews Note: China Unicom has roughly 135 million GSM subscribers.

Young reports, “China’s largest carrier, China Mobile, has said in the past it was in talks with Apple to carry the iPhone, and has also said it was talking to the U.S. company about developing an iPhone that runs on TD-SCDMA, the home-grown standard it is using in its 3G network.”

MacDailyNews Note: China Mobile has the world’s largest mobile phone subscriber base with over 510 million customers.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

12 Comments

  1. China Mobile isn’t as attractive a partner as their subscriber base would lead you to believe. About 80% of its customer base are pre-paid accounts that will never buy something as expensive as a smart phone (regardless of manufacturer). Its post paid base is no larger than Apple’s current Chinese partner, and there are no compatibility issues (GSM vs CDMA flavor).

    The world is going LTE, a change that will be 80% complete by 2013 (27 months).

    Apple is nothing if not a long range planner, and has repeatedly abandoned old technology (even though successful) for its successor. CDMA is technically inferior and obsolete. With LTE just around the corner there is no way Apple will introduce a short lived product for the sake of short term sales.

  2. China Mobile isn’t as attractive a partner as their subscriber base would lead you to believe. About 80% of its customer base are pre-paid accounts that will never buy something as expensive as a smart phone (regardless of manufacturer). Its post paid base is no larger than Apple’s current Chinese partner, and there are no compatibility issues (GSM vs CDMA flavor).

    The world is going LTE, a change that will be 80% complete by 2013 (27 months).

    Apple is nothing if not a long range planner, and has repeatedly abandoned old technology (even though successful) for its successor. CDMA is technically inferior and obsolete. With LTE just around the corner there is no way Apple will introduce a short lived product for the sake of short term sales.

  3. Whoops, hit <SEND> prematurely.

    Beyond all of the above, EVERYBODY is in talks with Apple about something. This is more of the same old rumor mongering for eyeballs.

  4. Whoops, hit <SEND> prematurely.

    Beyond all of the above, EVERYBODY is in talks with Apple about something. This is more of the same old rumor mongering for eyeballs.

  5. Well, mobile phones have an average life expectancy of about two years (with iPhone being likely on a longer end of that average).

    When Apple released first iPhone, it used by then (arguably) obsolete EDGE (GPRS) technology for data, even though 3G was widely available for several years (the excuse was ‘power-hungry 3G chip’).

    There is no reason to believe Apple would pass on CDMA iPhone if the deal was right. There’s plenty of life in EV-DO technology; certainly more than two-three years (average life span of a smartphone).

  6. Well, mobile phones have an average life expectancy of about two years (with iPhone being likely on a longer end of that average).

    When Apple released first iPhone, it used by then (arguably) obsolete EDGE (GPRS) technology for data, even though 3G was widely available for several years (the excuse was ‘power-hungry 3G chip’).

    There is no reason to believe Apple would pass on CDMA iPhone if the deal was right. There’s plenty of life in EV-DO technology; certainly more than two-three years (average life span of a smartphone).

  7. Thank you Predrag. The idea that Apple would pass on CDMA because LTE will be “80% complete by 2013 (27 months)” is simply moronic at best! I cannot wait for the CDMA phone to launch so these idiot comments along with the countless rumors can be finally put to rest!

  8. Thank you Predrag. The idea that Apple would pass on CDMA because LTE will be “80% complete by 2013 (27 months)” is simply moronic at best! I cannot wait for the CDMA phone to launch so these idiot comments along with the countless rumors can be finally put to rest!

  9. Greg, having prepaid accounts doesn’t have anything to do with what phone you buy. My daughter is studing in the UK, and there, many people have prepaid accounts, as she does. But, everywhere you go, you see iPhones. I mean everywhere. The Chinese use what phone they buy as status. Spending big bucks on smartphones isn’t unusual.

  10. Greg, having prepaid accounts doesn’t have anything to do with what phone you buy. My daughter is studing in the UK, and there, many people have prepaid accounts, as she does. But, everywhere you go, you see iPhones. I mean everywhere. The Chinese use what phone they buy as status. Spending big bucks on smartphones isn’t unusual.

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