China Mobile, the world’s largest operator by volume of subscribers is also the only operator in China that doesn’t offer iPhones or iPads for sale. The primary reason why China Mobile doesn’t offer Apple products is due to the company’s homegrown TD-SCDMA technology for 3G, which is an exclusive standard for the operator, for which most companies produce custom radios in their phones. But this might change soon, with Reuters reporting that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is in talks with China Mobile’s Chairman Xi Guohua, for a possible cooperation between the two giants.
This comes at a time when Apple reported a 43% drop in sales in the Asia region, and a large chunk of it is from Greater China. This also coincides with China Mobile’s poor 3G user base when compared to the competition which offers iPhones as well as globally supported 3G networks. It looks like both companies need each other at this crucial juncture. Apple wants its phones on the world’s largest operator, and China Mobile wants Apple’s phones to spruce up the dwindling 3G user base. Will the deal finally work out and will the cheap iPhone support the TD-SCDMA network for 3G? Interesting times ahead, and we will know for sure when the time is right.