Apple’s next-gen iPhone likely to support China Mobile’s massive 3G network

“The next-generation iPhone could well be the first smartphone from the Apple stable to be considered truly global,” Trefis Team reports for Forbes.

“According to Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, the iPhone 5 will officially debut in October and support China Mobile’s 3G TD-SCDMA network,” Trefis reports. “Unlike the iPhone 4 which came in two variants, one for CDMA and another for GSM, the iPhone 4S was positioned as a global device with a single hardware supporting both technologies. However, the 4S still did not support China Mobile’s proprietary 3G network which made the iPhone inaccessible to a majority of Chinese mobile phone users despite availability on China Unicom and China Telecom.”

Trefis reports, “If the iPhone 5 does come with China Mobile support, which we believe is highly likely given Qualcomm’s recent launch of a multimode chipset that supports TD-SCDMA as well as LTE, it would instantly double Apple’s addressable market in China. China Mobile has over 670 million subscribers, almost two-third the total number of mobile subscribers in China. Despite not being available on China Mobile’s platform, the iPhone has still managed to capture 19% smartphone market share in China as of Q1 2012 – more than double last year’s share… Our current estimates for Apple’s market share do not take into account the availability of the iPhone on China Mobile’s 3G network. However, should it happen, the upside could be huge – an almost 18% upside to our current $700 price estimate.

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. It really comes down to the power draw of that “super chip”.

    One of the primary (if not THE primary) reason that Apple did not include 4G in the current phone was the power draw of 4G chips as of mid last year.

    A chip that supports GSM, CDMA, TD-SCDMA and LTE is not going to be a small one or one that is exceedingly power frugal.

    Apple has been rightly interested in keeping the battery size reasonable while keeping the usage time reasonable at the same time. All current rumors are that the phone will get thinner or at least NOT thicker so it is very unlikely that Apple will be moving to a chip that kills the usable time per charge.

  2. Qualcomm is smart enough to design the chip so only the needed parts of the chips radio set is powered. If Qualcomm has the chip it makes perfect sense for Apple to expand their market by incorporating it. Shaw Wu takes that same logic and sells the message that Apple will do such and such. I’m not saying he’s wrong just that getting paid to start rumors is a nice gig if you can get it. Too bad Apple and all it’s stockholders suffer so often at the hands analyst like Shaw.

  3. IIRC, most (one third) of Cina Mobile’s customers are pre-paid, so the real challenge for Apple in gaining market share, is to address and cater to that huge pre-paid market. That’s something that hasn’t happened much to date. If Apple can crack that nut then the profits could be enormous.

  4. I think the real reason Apple has held out is that they like strong, steady growth. They’re going to have no problem selling iPhone 6’s for a while, my guess is that the “talks” they’re always having with china mobile will come to fruition around this time next year, durrig the lull before iPhone 6s (7th gen).

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