News about an upcoming deal between Apple and China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest mobile carrier, bring closer the scenario of a cheap iPhone model compatible with China's 4G networks.
Apple is expected to unveil its redesigned iPhone next month and may also release an emerging market smartphone. Apple also now has Qualcomm chips that can operate even on China's networks. At the same time, Beijing is expected to grant 4G licenses by the year-end that favor the biggest of its domestic mobile operators.
Previous iPhones could not fully opearte in China Mobile's TD-SCDMA 3G technology, at least without a a redesign inside. In addition, the chinese operator has been reluctant to commit to the huge cost of marketing and subsidizing sales of the expensive iPhone. A cheaper version of the popular smartphone series powered by Qualcomm's chips would make a fit, as those chips are compatible with both TD-LTE FDD-LTE systems (4G).
China Mobile has 740 million users.
In China, Apple is facing pressure from mid-tier domestic suppliers such as Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and Xiaomi Technology.