updated 10:44 am EDT, Thu March 20, 2014
Expansion may be hampered by limited 4G network
China Mobile added some 1 million new iPhone customers during the month of February, according to the company's annual earnings statement. Despite being the world's largest wireless carrier, it only formally launched iPhone sales in mid-January, well after rivals China Unicom and China Telecom. "We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities," comments China Mobile chairman Xi Gouhua.
Until recently the carrier was stymied by its decision to use a proprietary 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, which would've required a proprietary iPhone to support it -- something Apple refused to build. China Mobile's 4G network uses TD-LTE, though, which is easily supported by the iPhone 5s and 5c and allowed for a deal with Apple. Mobile has some catching up to do; apart from having a small 4G network, its annual results included the company's first profit decline in 14 years.