ChiTel Wants iPhone, After All
After the company's CEO denied any interest in the iPhone earlier this year, a China Telecom official is being quoted in the Wall Street Journal
as saying "it would be good" if Apple came out with a CDMA iPhone. China Telecom, the country's largest WiFi provider with 30,000 hotspots, had previously expressed interest in carrying the iPad. If the company opens talks with Apple, it would mean a clean sweep of the three state-owned carriers in the world's largest mobile market - with China Unicom already carrying the iPhone and giant China Mobile still in negotiations - putting (at least potentially) all of China's 800 million
mobile phone users in play. Yow.
China Telecom CEO Wang Xiaochu had said his company isn’t interested
in carrying the iPhone because of the high costs and Apple's tough negotiating stance. iPhones are already available on the grey market through Hong Kong at a small fraction of the astronomical official cost. And a fundamental limitation is that China Telecom's network is based on the CDMA2000 standard, which Verizon also uses in the US. Therefore, any possibility of the iPhone coming to China Telecom would hinge on Apple finally producing a CDMA-compatible model. The "company official" anonymously told the Wall Street Journal
's China Real-Time Report editor that "[i]f we can have an iPhone, that would be good, but we’ll just wait and see" if Apple follows through on long-rumored plans to produce a CDMA iPhone 4
by the end of this year.
The comments come after a flurry of remarks by the heads of the other two ginormous state-owned carriers about offering the iPad in China. The CEO of China Mobile, the biggest mobile operator in the world with over 500 million subscribers, said they were interested
, and the executive director of iPhone carrier China Unicom (Hong Kong) states his company is actively studying the iPad. China Mobile uses its own TD-SCDMA 3G technology, though, so both the iPhone and iPad would need a rework to be able to use China's emerging high-speed network. A version of the iPhone compatible with China's sui generis
WAPI WiFi standard was approved by the Chinese government
, but has not yet been announced.
Source: Cult of Mac