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.
The news that Apple will hold its first-ever iPhone media event in China has generated expectations that the company has something big up its sleeve, such as a sooner-than-expected launch of new models in that country, or perhaps a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest carrier.
China Mobile will spend 41.7 billion yuan ($6.7 billion U.S.) to develop 4G technology this year in anticipation of the arrival of the world's most popular smartphone — Apple's iPhone — on the world's most populous wireless carrier.
Apple supplier Qualcomm on Thursday announced a new "global LTE" front end solution that operates on 40 bands, including all existing LTE networks, which could usher in a truly global iPhone that even supports the obscure TD-SCDMA network used by the world's largest carrier China Mobile.
Riding on rumors of a purported "budget" iPhone, Morgan Stanley on Tuesday released a report estimating that Apple could add nearly $2.4 billion dollars to its handset business and triple its addressable smartphone market in China by debuting a $330 "iPhone mini."
The total number of 3G subscribers in China reached 222 million in November, up 88 percent year over year, giving yet another indication why the market is so important for continued growth of Apple's iPhone.
Yue Li, president of the world's largest wireless carrier China Mobile, confirmed on Wednesday that the telecom has been in talks with Apple since 2009 to bring the iPhone to its network since, however the two are far from striking a deal.
A Chinese regulatory agency on Tuesday revealed that two models of Apple's iPhone 5 have been granted approval to operate on the country's networks, suggesting that the popular smartphone will soon launch in the world's largest wireless market.
Though China Mobile is the largest wireless provider on on the planet, its number of high-speed 3G subscribers remains relatively small and growth is slow as the carrier does not currently offer Apple's iPhone.