China Telecom, Unicom rumored to offer Apple's new iPhones Sept. 20, China Mobile in Nov.

in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple's current carrier partners China Unicom and China Telecom may offer the company's next-generation iPhones as soon as Sept. 20, though a launch on China Mobile is expected to come slightly later, a new rumor claims.

Artist's conception of a possible iPhone 5S. Source: AppleInsider

The details were published on Thursday by Chinese website Sina Tech, and a translation was provided by AppleInsider reader George. According to the report, China Telecom and China Unicom will be the first carriers to offer the next iPhones, and could begin selling the devices as soon as Sept. 20.

But China Mobile will have to wait until November, the report claims, as TD-LTE 4G compatible versions of Apple's next-generation handsets will need to go through regulatory approval. With more than 700 million subscribers, China Mobile is the largest carrier in the world, and a potential deal with Apple has been highly anticipated.

The details reported Thursday align with earlier suggestions that Apple's next iPhones could launch sooner than expected in China. The company has scheduled a media event for Sept. 11 in Beijing where it is expected to introduce the anticipated "iPhone 5S" and "iPhone 5C" to local media.

Thursday's report alleges that the "iPhone 5S" will come in four different colors. Three of those are fairly well known: the existing white and black models, plus a new "champagne" shade of gold. There have also been recent suggestions of a potential graphite shade.

As for the "iPhone 5C," the report claims that new plastic-backed model will come in five colors. Leaked parts have hinted that model will be available in white, red, green, blue, and yellow, though there have also been pink components spotted in the wild.


  • Reply 1 of 7

    Landing DoCoMo and China Mobile at the same time is big. Could they have landed both without the 5C?

  • Reply 2 of 7


    No, at least not for China Mobile.  The issue was the radio protocol in the 5 and 4 and 4s.   The 5s and 5c purportedly have the Latest Broadcom radios that cover both the standard GSM/CDMA/LTEs the rest of the world use, as well as handling the China Mobile's TD-CDMA and it's variant LTE.


    This is part of the rumor of the iPhone 5 'disappearing,' as it would be an odd duck in the pricing line (sort of like the iPad 3), as well as the hardware/dimensional issues (faster adoption of Lightning, quicker retirement of the 4/4s screen geometry).  Offering a 5s and 5c for China Mobile and a 5s/5c/4s (and iPhone 5s living on in the grey market) for everyone else makes product line sense [if you look at the long game].


    Docomo... I never thought their issue was technical, purely control of the user experience.   



    Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post


    Landing DoCoMo and China Mobile at the same time is big. Could they have landed both without the 5C?

  • Reply 3 of 7
    DoCoMo is great!

    China Mobile is really great on one hand -- and a little unsettling on the other.

    China Mobile could rapidly become Apple's largest reseller -- and by a large margin (number of units sold).

    When any company has a single, dominant, customer -- it becomes unclear who's calling the shots...

    A saying describing IBM in its heyday (97% of the maimframe market) says it best:

    When you make love to an 800 lb gorilla -- [B][I]you stop when the gorilla gets tired![/I][/B]
  • Reply 4 of 7
    I lived in Japan for about 12 years. DoCoMo, like most of the U.S. carriers earlier on, were (and in many ways still are) accustomed to calling all the shots where the handset manufacturers were concerned. The carriers always dictated all the terms, and the manufacturers lined up to accommodate.

    Apple changed the rules of the game (not just releasing a game-changing handset, but changing the terms of the relationship at the same time). AT&T saw the potential, got their multi-year exclusive, and reaped extraordinary rewards as a result.

    It was an uphill battle every step of the way, all around the world. This remains the reason Apple is still not ubiquitous on most national carriers in most countries. As pointed out here, the largest carriers in Japan and China remain "officially" iPhone-free. But they are both losing huge amounts of potential revenue, both from subsidies and subscriptions to those carriers who support iPhone.

    I watched YahooBB (Softbank) go from a third-tier provider to a top-player in Japan, stripping tens of millions of customers away from DoCoMo and others, purely by virtue of carrying the iPhone (while the other carriers crossed their arms with indignant petulance at Apple's terms). So Softbank also got their exclusive period, and it put them on the map in a big way.

    At this late stage, it certainly doesn't make sense for any carrier to exclude iPhone (it never has, really, but that's pride and/or arrogance for you).

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if DoCoMo and China Mobile both come on board this year with most of Apple's usual terms intact. Most of the sticking points are probably background (infrastructure) type requirements anyway, such as Apple being able to support CM's weird TD-LTE protocol. In DoCoMo's case though, it was mostly "we call the shots" arrogance.

    That lack of humility has caused them a huge share of the market in recent years, and the iPhone isn't the only place they've blown it. Still, they remain #1 there for now. Carrying the iPhone will help them stay there.

    Good times for Apple stock when those two come onboard!
  • Reply 5 of 7
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member

    Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post


    Landing DoCoMo and China Mobile at the same time is big. Could they have landed both without the 5C?


    If we are to believe what the Russian carriers that dropped the iPhone a few months ago said, it seems that Apple makes carriers purchase a certain number of iPhones on the front end.


    DoMoCo and China Mobile probably weren't willing to take the risk purchasing millions of expensive iPhone 5s that they weren't sure would turn them a profit, but the 5C on the other hand should be cheap enough for the carriers to still commit to buying millions from Apple, while assuring the carriers an easier profit in these poorer nations.

  • Reply 6 of 7
    h2ph2p Posts: 309member
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

    When you make love to an 800 lb gorilla -- you stop when the gorilla gets tired!

    Thank you for the quote, Dick! I'm stealing it (even if it's been around for years).


    Re: Apple & the Chinese Gov't phone company. China Mobile's unit sales will only be a problem if Apple gets addicted to the chinese profits... hmm, pretty likely that Apple will be influenced. We'll see, but I'm thinking that the iPhone 5C shows that C.M. is already exerting it's clout. With 740+ million subscribers (300+ smartphones I believe), it's an obvious move. We all know that in China at least half of the country is turning to consumers because for the first time in history, 50% of the chinese population are urban dweller.


    The gorilla just woke up. He's got a lot of energy.

  • Reply 7 of 7

    This is certainly going to pump some adrenaline into the stock... Huge markets, huge news!

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