Apple is making several steps to open up the iPhone to a host of competitors, including in international markets.
Though the iPhone has been available in China, it has not been through the largest mobile supporter in the country. China Mobile is the most popular carrier in the country and has, at least until now, been unable to support the iPhone. The reason for this is that China Mobile has its own 3G format that is titled TD-SCDMA. This format is really only used in China and is not compatible with the iPhone. If users did want to have 3G service on an iPhone they had to jump over to the smaller China Unicorn, which required a phone number change. Currently China Mobile has a number of subscribers topping 600 million, and people are not just willing to jump ship.
This has not, however, slowed the popularity of the iPhone in China, which is the largest phone market in the world. People may remember the intimidatingly long lines for the release of the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 5 seems as though it may top that out completely.
So now the iPhone rumors have begun. Will Apple finally shake hands with China Mobile and make a TD-SCDMA iPhone available to their customers? This rumor began when Tim Cook, Apple‚Äö√Ñ√¥s COO, went for a meeting at China Mobile. The Internet began blowing up as most users interpreted this as meaning only one thing: and explosion on the market. The Chinese blogosphere has been like a tunnel of worker bees, pumping out responses and rumors as quickly as possible.
Still, there is nothing set in stone for China‚Äö√Ñ√¥s iPhone envy. If China Mobile was able to secure a TD-SCDMA iPhone then there are questions about how it would work on international service providers outside of China. Perhaps Apple has enough power to force China Mobile to adopt a complete change in its network, but this would require the kind of restructuring that few companies are willing to do. No matter what, it would mean a major downfall for China Unicorn. This company has staked much of its popularity on its iPhone exclusivity, and this may end up meaning that 600 million users will have little reason to jump over to their side