China Mobile: Apple CEO Steve Jobs wants to make us a 4G TD-SCDMA iPhone

“Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has expressed interest in developing an iPhone based on China Mobile’s fourth-generation telecoms standard, the chairman of the Chinese telecoms operator said on Friday,” Kelvin Soh and Huang Yuntao report for Reuters. “‘Jobs has said he’s very interested in developing an iPhone that will run on TD,’ China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said on the sidelines of the Chinese Communist Party’s consultative meeting.”

Soh and Yuntao report, “The company has been talking to Apple for years to develop an iPhone that runs on its homegrown 3G TD-SCDMA standard, but rival China Unicom remains the only operator to sell the phone as it runs on the global data standard.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Sarah” for the heads up.]


  1. I’d wager, it’s not that Steve wants to build a 4G TD-SCDMA phone, but that someone may have actually built a chip that supports 4G and TD-SCDMA, that makes it practical.

  2. First, Verizon CEO mentioned of Apple 4g phone development a few weeks ago, and now China Mobile CEO says the same. This means there’s a lot more going on behind the scene than meets the eye. Don’t be surprised that prototypes are now available for testing. Expect a world iPhone supporting all major network protocols and soft SIM for carrier switching and prepay in 2012.

    1. As for prepaid, many carriers around the world offer unsubsidised, unlocked iPhones at normal retail prices ($700 and up).

      They are not available in the US, though, probably due to the agreements Apple has with American carriers (AT&T and Verizon), which likely don’t provide for the option of Apple selling independently an unlocked, full-price version on the US market. Such market is minuscule anyway, since the percentage of mobile phone users in America who buy full-price unlocked phones and use them on pre-paid plans in negligible, compared to subsidised, 2-year contract customers.

  3. …”Expect a world iPhone supporting all major network protocols and soft SIM for carrier switching and prepay in 2012.”

    First part not going to happen; second part has been there since 3G (pre-paid).

    There is no concept of “soft SIM” out there yet. All GSM networks use SIM cards for their GSM-compatible phones. None has yet announced any plans on using the “soft SIM” technology, whatever that may be.

    As far as hybrid CDMA-GSM iPhone is concerned, it is a compromise between the bulk, complexity and power consumption of a dual-band chip, vs. the complexity and expense of two separate manufacturing lines, one for CDMA, other for GSM models. It seems that vast majority of handset makers (including Apple) had concluded that two manufacturing lines are less of a hassle than building phones with dual chips when 99% of them will only ever be used on one single network. The only devices today that have hybrid chips are a precious few Blackberry models on American CDMA networks (Verizon and Sprint), for the purpose of enabling international roaming on GSM network. These are targeted at business market, where the percentage of those who roam internationally is likely the highest.

  4. “4G” iPhones have been in the works for at least the last couple of years. They don’t just pop out of thin air. The original iPhone was 2G because the 3G chipsets were not ready – too power hungry. Even after Apple waited a year for chipset technology to improve and be available in volume, 3G cut into battery life fairly significantly.

    If “4G” had advanced more quickly on both the cell network coverage side and the chipset side, then the recent Verizon iPhone 4 might have used it. Instead, Apple made the smart move and focused on the cellular network capabilities that currently exist and are mature. Apple will move towards the higher speed cellular options as soon as it makes sense to do so.

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