updated 05:55 am EST, Wed February 29, 2012
China Mobile paves the way for 4G iPhone
China Mobile has confirmed that it is about to commence the wide-scale rollout of a TD-LTE mobile network. The largest telco in the world with 655 million customers has announced that it will deploy 20,000 TD-LTE base stations by the end of 2012, increasing to 200,000 by the end of 2013. The announcement is significant as the iPhone is not currently available on the influential network due to incompatibilities, but an LTE-capable iPhone would support TD-LTE.
Apple has not been able to tap into China Mobile's massive user base, although China Mobile has previously said that it has over 10 million unofficial iPhone users on its network. China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou has also previously revealed that it had started talks with Apple about bringing a TD-LTE capable iPhone to its network as far back as September last year. Apple was said by Jianzhou to be very 'positive' about China Mobile's plans to adopt the TD-LTE standard. Its current 3G standard is unique to China, making it difficult for Apple to make its GSM world iPhone a good fit.
Apple's iPad 3 is expected to have an LTE option for the first time, with the same or similar radio making its debut in the next-generation iPhone later this year. Apple is thought to have been waiting for more efficient LTE chipsets to become available as well as for LTE networks to mature before launching LTE-equipped devices. [via Daily Wireless]