CEO says China Mobile will get 4G iPhone 5

Fresh from commenting about Facebook and China, China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou has been discussing Apple,  and specifically, the iPhone – which his company does not yet carry – as Fortune’s tech blog reports from Davos.

Will the iPhone 5 be the one that finally cracks open the No. 1 carrier in the world’s biggest cell phone market?

That’s the thrust of a report out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that cites remarks made by China Mobile (CHL) chairman Wang Jianzhou.

“We hope that when they develop the next-generation models, since Apple can create CDMA, they can also consider developing TD-SCDMA,” Wang was quoted as saying in Reuters report Wednesday, via the Chinese-language Sina Technology news portal.

“These two years we have been discussing the issue,” Wang continues. “Right now the situation is moving forward. Apple has made it clear they will support TD-LTE.”

In layman’s terms CDMA, alongside TDMA, are the most commonly used mobile network technologie,s however China has its own distinct flavour – TD-SCDMA, as used by China Mobile – which has presented an issue for the operator and its intention to partner with Apple for the iPhone.

Presently, China Unicom is the sole carrier of the iPhone in China, but with China Mobile far and away China’s, and indeed the world’s, largest carrier, a partnership would make sense for both parties particularly as Fortune suggests China Mobile subscriber base now numbers 600 million compared to Unicom’s 125 million. While China Mobile’s 3G service has seen a more positive welcome than that of Unicom.

Wang’s reference to TD-LTE concerns the China variant of 4G technology where both Apple and China Mobile may finally come together, which would likely mean the device on offer being the iPhone 5. That’s unless Apple moves into the TD-SCDMA space, which makes little sense given that the iPhone has been available in China since September.

As the Fortune article concludes:

“Eventually, we believe Apple will sign a deal with the world’s largest wireless carrier and clearly China’s largest carrier.”

Assuming Wang is right with his speculation, who’d have thought China’s leading operation would finally get the iPhone as the fifth iteration of the device running on a fourth generation mobile network?