Reuters is recently reporting that talks with China Mobile and Apple have been progressing smoothly and that the two sides are positive about reaching a possible agreement according to the company’s chairman Xi Guohua. Mr. Xi told Reuters that “both sides sounded keen” during talks, which have been ongoing since 2011. Of the three Chinese carriers, China Mobile is the only one that utilizes TD-SCDMA technology, a standard developed by the company and not supported by any current iPhone model. The carrier seems to be reluctant to commit to the huge cost of marketing and handset subsidies associated with the iPhone. New chips from Qualcomm now give Apple an opportunity to support China Mobile’s network in its upcoming hardware revision. The following was mentioned regarding the situation:

Apple is expected to unveil its redesigned iPhone next month and may also release a cheaper, emerging market smartphone. Crucially, it also now has Qualcomm Inc chips that can operate even on China's obscure networks. At the same time, Beijing is expected to grant 4G licenses by the year-end that favor the biggest of its domestic mobile operators.

Apple has so far ducked a deal with China Mobile as this would have required a redesign inside the iPhone to work on the operator's inferior TD-SCDMA 3G technology. For its part, China Mobile has been reluctant to commit to the huge cost of marketing and subsidizing sales of the expensive iPhone.
As of right now, Beijing is looking to expand 4G networks within China by the end of the year and the licenses are expected to be based on TD-LTE technology instead of the more widely-used FDD-LTE. The report comes after China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile network in terms of subscribers, posted healthy Q2 profits that beat the analyst expectations. Net income increased to CNY 35.2 billion ($5.8 billion) for the second quarter from CNY 34.4 billion ($5.62 billion) a year earlier, which surpassed the CNY 33.9 billion average of four analyst expectations according to Bloomberg.

Although there hasn’t been a set date confirmed by Apple, many sources are claiming that the new iPhone models are said to be announced on September 10. Recent leaks also claim to provide strong evidence towards the release of not only the next-generation iPhone dubbed the iPhone 5S but also a low-cost iPhone dubbed the iPhone 5C. We’ll have to wait and see which of the info is true and which isn’t by being patient though.

Source: Bloomberg, Reuters