updated 09:56 am EST, Thu November 21, 2013
Carrier still waiting on 4G license from Chinese government
China Mobile is planning to introduce a new brand for its mobile services on December 18th, something that could hint at the iPhone finally arriving on the carrier, says the Wall Street Journal. The brand announcement is expected to take place during Mobile's 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou. The carrier has said it's ready to start 4G services; although it must still wait for the Chinese government to issue 4G licenses, local media has indicated that may happen as soon as next week.
Despite being the world's biggest cellphone carrier, with over 700 million subscribers, China Mobile has been without official iPhone sales since the device arrived in the country several years ago. The main obstacle has been the carrier's decision to adopt a proprietary 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, which would've required Apple to build a unique model for just one provider. Instead Apple turned to Mobile's rivals, China Unicom and China Telecom, which support more global standards.
For 4G Mobile has decided to go with TD-LTE, a format supported by Chinese models of both the iPhone 5s and 5c. Apple's ability to support Mobile has been aided by improvements in wireless chipsets, which can now cover a wide range of 3G and 4G bands, instead of just a narrow selection, or one or the other.