China Mobile asks Apple for TD-SCDMA compatible iPhone

19 Mar 2010

The Financial Times reports that the head of China Mobile has called on Apple to include Beijing’s home-grown standard for third-generation mobile services in the next generation of the iPhone, underscoring the growing pressures on the world’s largest mobile operator to attract 3G subscribers. The request comes amid fears that China Mobile risks falling behind rivals China Telecom and China Unicom – the only telecom operator in the country to have a distribution deal with Apple for the iPhone – in signing up subscribers. Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile chairman and chief executive, said at the group’s annual results yesterday that ‘including TD-SCDMA is not that hard to do – Research in Motion (RIM) is doing it’. But he added that Apple had not yet responded to his proposal. RIM agreed last year to include the 3G standard in certain of its BlackBerry models for China Mobile subscribers.

Mr Wang said China Mobile aims to increase the number of 3G users from 3.4 million to at least 10 million by the end of the year. The company plans to increase handset subsidies by 30% this year to achieve that goal.