Apple is rumoured to be working on a new iPhone 6 that will work with China's largest mobile phone provider, China Mobile.
During his visit to China last week, Tim Cook met up with representatives from China Mobile reports Reuters. The meeting was to discuss “matters of cooperation,” according to Li Jun, a spokesman for China Mobile.
China Mobile uses a different standard of 4G networking called TD-LTE (Time-Division Long-Term Evolution). This is a 4G networking standard used by China Mobile, as well as other companies like Datang Telecom and Huawei. It's different to the FD-LTE that is used by most companies world-wide, including EE in the UK.
China Mobile has a history of using different standards to other companies in China, and the rest of the world. Its 3G technology was based on TD-SCDMA instead of W-CDMA. In this sense it is similar to Verizon Wireless in the United States.
It can't be that difficult for Apple to create an iPhone that works with China Mobile. After all it has made iPhones for Verizon in the past, and updated the iPad and iPhone 5 to work with a wider band-range of 4G for European service providers (including our very own EE).
The iPhone is already available in China on rival networks, but none of them match China Mobile for market share. Getting a deal with China Mobile will help Apple increase its market share, obviously in China but the numbers are so huge it will help with global figures.
"Currently, Apple has 11 stores in the Greater China region, as well as many resellers. We will continue to expand in China and the number of retail stores we'll have will exceed 25," Cook was quoted as saying by news portal Sina Technology News.
While the iPhone is clearly a good catch for China Mobile, it's subscribers are increasingly happy to switch to rival devices such as the Samsung S3 rather than switch networks to get an iPhone.
Apple ands China Mobile have been talking for several years, however, and are said to be stuck on revenue sharing terms. So it's unclear if this new meeting has resulted in a break-through for Apple in China.