China Mobile “In Talks” with Apple to Offer iPhone 4S

The world’s biggest mobile phone network, China Mobile, could soon offer its customers Apple’s iPhone.

The Chinese carrier’s chairman has confirmed the two firms are in talks.

Compatibility issues between the iPhone and China Mobile’s 3G network mean that currently Apple’s handsets only work on the much slower 2G service.

The problem could be resolved with the launch of the next iPhone, rumoured to happen this summer, and when China adopts the 4G standard, analysts say.

China Mobile is the country’s biggest mobile phone network, and in terms of users the world’s largest, with more than 660 million customers.

Even though the iPhone is not yet in China Mobile’s official product line-up, about 15 million of the company’s customers are thought to be iPhone users already, having bought the phone through different channels.

Despite being the biggest telecoms provider, China Mobile is the country’s only operator that does not support the iPhone.

China Mobile’s market share is about 67% – a lot more than its two rivals China Unicom and China Telecom – but it has been slipping steadily in the past few years.

Officially offering the iPhone to its subscribers could help China Mobile to get back the consumers it has lost to other carriers.

China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua mentioned the ongoing discussions between the two firms at a shareholders meeting in Beijing.

“We’ve been actively talking to Apple on how we can cooperate,” he said.

“I can’t give you too many details, but I’d like to repeat that both sides do hope to boost our cooperation.”

Via BBC News.