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Apple TD-LTE job listing serves as additional confirmation for China Mobile iPhone

China Mobile cell tower

While a possible deal with China Mobile, one of the world’s largest telecoms, was rumored for quite sometime leading up to launch of the new iPhones, the company said in August that it was still working out “commercial and technical issues” with Apple. Today, Bloomberg points us to an Apple job listing in China that provides some evidence that the company is indeed preparing to launch the iPhone on the carrier’s network:

The manager, who will be based in Beijing, will “support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones,” Apple said in an advertisement on its China website. The position seeks experience with TD-SCDMA, China Mobile’s own third-generation standard that isn’t used by other carriers.

On top of TD-SCDMA, the job listing is also seeking an engineer with experience in TD-LTE, which is the LTE standard that China Mobile has quickly been rolling out. Back in August the often reliable KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo claimed that Apple was ramping up TD-LTE supported iPhone 5c production and estimated that the iPhone 5s and 5c on China Mobile could account for penetration of 25% and 35% of total shipments for the two devices. Currently the carrier has approximately 756 million subscribers, around 63% of the 1.2 billion wireless subscribers in China. Expand

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China Mobile president: technology isn’t holding back iPhone 5 launch, but agreements with Apple

iphone 5 homescreen

The iPhone 5 is set to ship in China December 14 on the nation’s second and third largest carriers: China Unicom and China Telecom. However absent from the launch is China Mobile, the nation’s (and world’s) largest telecom that boasts a user base of 703 million subscribers. It’s presumed the reason why the iPhone hasn’t yet launched on China Mobile is because of the network’s specific TD-SCDMA technology that isn’t used elsewhere, however that may not be the case. Unwired View reports today that while speaking at China Mobile’s 2012 Developer Conference, the company’s president Li Yue stated “technology is not a problem, [it’s] mainly about business model and benefit-sharing issues.”

Of course Yue’s comment doesn’t necessarily mean we can bank on the iPhone 5 landing on China Mobile any time soon, but it does show that Apple and the company have at least held advanced discussions, including pricing and shared revenue. In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported that a China Mobile iPhone launch was getting closer. Additionally, China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou said his company is in constant talks with Apple, and  Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China Mobile’s headquarters last summer to presumably discuss the possibility of supporting 4G-LTE radio technology. The iPhone 5, with its accompanying 4G, was expected to launch on China Mobile, but never did/still hasn’t.

China Mobile is important to Apple and its aggressive attack into China. The carrier would add a slew of customers that may otherwise be looking to Samsung to fulfill their smartphone needs. That’s not to say China Mobile is not harboring iPhone users like T-Mobile here stateside, with 15 million customers using unlocked iPhones as of Spring this year. Today’s note that technology is not holding the iPhone back from China Mobile is definitely interesting, as we presume China Mobile is working with or against Apple’s strong arm. [Unwired View] Expand

China Mobile had secret iPhone meetings with Steve Jobs

Reuters reported this morning that top brass from China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by both subscribers and market valuation, and Apple’s head honcho Steve Jobs met “several times on introducing an iPhone based on its network standard”. Did Jobs travel incognito or was he accompanying Apple’s operations wizard Tim Cook during his China tour (snapped paparazzi-style in the shot below)?

More likely, Jobs probably hosted China Mobile reps in Cupertino.

Interestingly, China Mobile counts a cool 7.44 million iPhone users on its network, although it doesn’t carry the handset yet and iPhone users cannot tap 3G speeds on their TD-SCDMA 3G network.

Apple’s been alleged previously as wanting to release an iPhone optimized for China Mobile’s fourth-generation TD-LTE network. The Wall Street Journal chimed in with sources saying the gadget maker and China Mobile are close to cutting a deal set to open up the carrier’s 600+ million subscribers to Apple’s phone. The highest-level meeting isn’t surprising considering that Apple is only “scratching surface” in China, having reported in the June quarter a sixfold growth in the country for a total of $3.8B in revenues from operations in the country.