China Mobile makes call for TD-SCDMA iPhone

At the World Expo in Shanghai Monday, Bill Huang general manager of the China Mobile Research Institute, issued a request to Apple to create a TD-SCDMA version of its iPhone so that the world’s largest mobile carrier could offer the game-changing device to its customer base of more than half a billion subscribers.

Speaking at the Ericsson Business Innovation Forum, being held at the Expo this year, Huang said that China Mobile’s own handset platform, Android-based Ophone, was proving popular but conceded that the firm would relish the chance to deliver the Apple device. “We look forward to LTE, which Apple will support, unlike TD-SCDMA,” he said. With 3G only a very recent commercial addition to the Chinese market, Huang said China Mobile would “leapfrog” to the Chinese version of 4G, TD-LTE.

“It took less than two years for TD-SCDMA to go from field trials to commercial service and we are confident that it will become a compelling and high performance network. This is the most golden opportunity in the mobile internet era with LTE and TD-SCDMA,” he said.

Huang also revealed that China Mobile’s music offering has made the carrier “the biggest music company in China”. More than 80 per cent of new Chinese songs released today are released on the platform.

The importance of China to vendors like Ericsson, whose fiercest competitor in the infrastructure business is now domestic player Huawei, was well illustrated by Huang when he put the firm’s national base station count at 530,ooo. Huang denied that China Mobile is required by its state owner to allocate a certain number of contracts to domestic players like Huawei and ZTE and said that the firm prefers to have multiple suppliers. Operators are always more likely to stick with incumbent suppliers, he said, adding with a smile to his Swedish hosts that the danger for operators is that those incumbent suppliers “can easily take an operator hostage.”

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