We’ve news that Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has been meeting with the top honchos at China Mobile. It’s an interesting if slightly strange, thing for him to do. For one of the basic points is that Apple’s kit won’t actually work on China Mobile’s system:
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday met with the head of China Mobile Ltd, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers and the only Chinese carrier that doesn’t offer iPhones and iPads.
The reason they don’t offer them is that they simply don’t work:
China Mobile’s homegrown 3G technology – TD-SCDMA – is inferior to what is offered by China Unicom and China Telecom, which are based on international 3G standards.
Not so much inferior, it’s simply different. And Apple doesn’t release iPhones which are suitable for working on that technology.
Which leads to the two things that they might have discussed at that meeting. The first being whether Apple is going to do a redesign of the iPhone and thus produce something that is capable of working on the network.
But this leads us to the second question: will China Mobile pre-order or guarantee enough sales to make that worth Apple’s time? For the company has previously said that it really doesn’t like the way that it has to offer the usual guarantees and subsidies.
Quite which way it will work out is anyone’s guess: but that’s the basic problem that they’re trying to solve. There’s a risk and a cost to getting Apple onto China Mobile’s network: and each side wants the other to be paying the cost and taking the risk.