“China Mobile Ltd. (941) won state approval to start commercial service on the world’s largest fourth-generation wireless network, clearing a key hurdle to offering Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone to its 759 million subscribers,” Bloomberg News reports. “The world’s biggest phone company and two smaller domestic carriers received 4G licenses yesterday from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China Mobile will deploy TD-LTE technology to promote faster downloads as it tries to push customers toward higher-priced voice and data plans.”
“Apple is close to agreeing to a distribution deal with China Mobile, a person with knowledge of the matter said in September,” Bloomberg News reports. “The carrier said in 2011 that Apple agreed to make an iPhone for its customers once it shifted to 4G.”
“As of Aug. 30, China’s Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Center had approved for service an Apple handset that could run on a 4G TD-LTE network in addition to China Mobile’s 3G network, according to a statement on the regulator’s website,” Bloomberg News reports. “‘In the long term, it is important for China Mobile to improve its cost structure by migrating users to 4G,’ Huang Leping, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc., said in an e-mail. ‘The Apple deal should help China Mobile to retain its high average revenue users.'”
“The absence of popular handsets like the iPhone limited China Mobile’s ability to compete with smaller China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. and China Telecom Corp. (728) in winning users seeking high-speed connectivity. China Mobile has 759 million wireless users, more than the population of any other country except India, yet it had only 45 percent of the nation’s 3G users as of Oct. 31,” Bloomberg News reports. “China Unicom and China Telecom both carry the iPhone. The two carriers also received 4G licenses, China’s MIIT said in a statement on its website yesterday.”
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MacDailyNews Take: There are two types of smartphone users: Apple iPhone users and all the rest. Carriers that are iPhone have-nots suffer greatly from lack of customer quality. China Mobile needs Apple more than Apple needs China Mobile.
China issues 4G network licences to China Mobile, Unicom and Telecom – December 4, 2013