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China Mobile, Apple agree on 4G TD-LTE technology

post #1 of 14
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China Mobile revealed Thursday that it had reached an agreement with Apple to eventually support the carrier's fourth-generation TD-LTE data network, though it was unable to provide details on when exactly a 4G iPhone will arrive.

MarketWatch reports that China Mobile said it had "reached consensus" with Apple on using its fourth-generation technology on iPhones to be offered by the carrier, but no timeframe was given for the rollout.

China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said talks with Apple to launch the iPhone remain ongoing. Wang did not specify what exactly had been agreed upon with Apple.

Wang also revealed that over 4 million China Mobile customers use the iPhone, despite the fact that rival China Unicom is the only carrier that offers Apple's smartphone. China Mobile currently uses a home-grown 3G data technology that is incompatible with current iPhones. According to the report, China Mobile plans to begin commercial trials of its time-division long term-evolution network next year.

In March, Wang went on record as saying that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs had "expressed interest in an LTE iPhone" and was willing to start development "at an early date." Wang also said in January that Apple has "made it clear" that future updates to the iPhone will support long-term evolution 4G technology.

A 4G iPhone is likely more than a year away, however, as a recent report suggested that LTE chips from Qualcomm are not ready for the iPhone's required production levels. Apple had reportedly originally planned to release an LTE-capable iPhone in 2011, but has pushed the device back to at least 2012. The same report also noted that China Mobile is expected to begin selling Apple's next-generation iPhone later this year. Jeffries & Co. analyst Peter Misek has also predicted that China Mobile will get the iPhone "4S" in September.

Apple has seen phenomenal growth in China in recent years, with iPhone sales growing by almost 250 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2011. The four Apple retail stores in China are the company's highest traffic and highest revenue stores worldwide.

Earlier this month, frenzied demand for the white iPhone 4 caused an altercation at an Apple Store in Beijing, resulting in four people being sent to the hospital and a broken glass door.
post #2 of 14
How are 4 million China Mobile customers using the iPhone, if - as it states in the article - the iPhones are incompatible with their 3G network?
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post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

How are 4 million China Mobile customers using the iPhone, if - as it states in the article - the iPhones are incompatible with their 3G network?

I think they are using 2G only on those iPhones.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

How are 4 million China Mobile customers using the iPhone, if - as it states in the article - the iPhones are incompatible with their 3G network?

I was just going to as a similar question.
To be correct, it states, "China Mobile currently uses a home-grown 3G data technology that is incompatible with current iPhones."
So these 4 million people are running on Edge?
post #5 of 14
this would be great IF true.
China Mobile has outright lied several times in the past to keep appearing as if there are or have been on-going discussions with apple.
what can be true is that China Mobile will do its first multi-city trials for TD-LTE in early 2012.
IF apple really will have China Mobile as a partner, it would be the mother of all launches.

current iPhone related: yes. all of us are using iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4G, on China Mobile's 2G network (equivalent to Edge). all of these phones are grey imports from HK or other countries, or brought in by individuals and unlocked to work on China Mobile.
post #6 of 14
What is the difference between LTE and TD-LTE that is planed for China Mobile? I am aware that China Mobile has a GSM/Edge network with wide coverage and TD-SCDMA has been added to it. Any new tech phone would have to be backward compatible with GSM/Edge to have universal coverage even in China.

If TD-LTE is a different version of LTE, then Apple will need totally new chipsets, etc. Another hairball to deal with... but China Mobile has the economies of scale.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

What is the difference between LTE and TD-LTE that is planed for China Mobile? I am aware that China Mobile has a GSM/Edge network with wide coverage and TD-SCDMA has been added to it. Any new tech phone would have to be backward compatible with GSM/Edge to have universal coverage even in China.

If TD-LTE is a different version of LTE, then Apple will need totally new chipsets, etc. Another hairball to deal with... but China Mobile has the economies of scale.

TD-LTE runs in a different part of the wireless spectrum, but the technology is similar enough to LTE that LTE chips can easily support both standards.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

What is the difference between LTE and TD-LTE that is planed for China Mobile? I am aware that China Mobile has a GSM/Edge network with wide coverage and TD-SCDMA has been added to it. Any new tech phone would have to be backward compatible with GSM/Edge to have universal coverage even in China.

If TD-LTE is a different version of LTE, then Apple will need totally new chipsets, etc. Another hairball to deal with... but China Mobile has the economies of scale.

TD-LTE and FDD-LTE (the traditional kind) are similar enough that a single chipset can support both standard. The main differences between the two are they operate on different spectrum, and the TD-LTE has a single channel dynamically split between uplink/downlink, where FDD-LTE has one channel each for uplink and downlink.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

TD-LTE runs in a different part of the wireless spectrum, but the technology is similar enough to LTE that LTE chips can easily support both standards.

The difference between LTE and TD-LTE has nothing to do with the wireless spectrum. Thats a separate issue altogether. For instance, both AT&T and T-Mobile USA support UMTS(WCDMA/HS*PA) but T-Mobile USA uses a different wireless specter, the 1700MHz AWS band, not currently supported by the iPhone.

TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE are different from their cousins WCDMA and LTE in that China ha grown the technologies with less dependence on West. In other words, with less cost from encumbering patents and licensing. But they can still use the same radio frequencies, if available.
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The difference between LTE and TD-LTE has nothing to do with the wireless spectrum. Thats a separate issue altogether. For instance, both AT&T and T-Mobile USA support UMTS(WCDMA/HS*PA) but T-Mobile USA uses a different wireless specter, the 1700MHz AWS band, not currently supported by the iPhone.

TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE are different from their cousins WCDMA and LTE in that China ha grown the technologies with less dependence on West. In other words, with less cost from encumbering patents and licensing. But they can still use the same radio frequencies, if available.

Does that mean, Apple would not be paying royalties to the GSM/UMTS group or Qualcomm regarding the TD-LTE phones? I understand these royalties amount to at least 5% of ASP of the phone.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

Does that mean, Apple would not be paying royalties to the GSM/UMTS group or Qualcomm regarding the TD-LTE phones? I understand these royalties amount to at least 5% of ASP of the phone.

Id think so. But I do wonder how much different Chinas homegrown options are from the original. Meaning, could Apple combine an LTE and TD-LTE option for the iPhone.
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post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Id think so. But I do wonder how much different Chinas homegrown options are from the original. Meaning, could Apple combine an LTE and TD-LTE option for the iPhone.

I think there is no way Apple will NOT do this, ie. Apple will have to do this. The China iPhone by 2013 at the latest will have to target China Mobile and their LTE implementation. The market is too massive to consider not doing it.

You could say it depends on how serious China Mobile is about their LTE rollout. But even if China Mobile's LTE rollout is limited in 2013, the 2013 iPhone will definitely have to support LTE and I think TD-LTE, being a "premier" phone. Unless Apple faces dealbreaker obstacles in China, which is unlikely given the momentum and their focus on China.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

I think they are using 2G only on those iPhones.

Yeah...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Mobile#3G_laggard
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post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

I was just going to as a similar question.
To be correct, it states, "China Mobile currently uses a home-grown 3G data technology that is incompatible with current iPhones."
So these 4 million people are running on Edge?

Yes, we are running on 2G. In fact, I don't even have a full-blown data service from China Mobile with the plan that I use - I am limited to their WAP portal.

You have to realize that 3G is just starting to get adoption over here. When it comes to service, users here are very cost-conscious, though they have no issue with spending a lot of money for the phone - Apple FTW!
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