China Mobile Reports 10 Million iPhone Users

During a recent interview with Reuters, Wang Jianzhou, the chairman of China Mobile, disclosed that over ten million iPhones are operating on its network, despite the fact that the carrier does not officially offer the device. This figure represents a fraction of its 600 million subscribers.

The iPhones in use have been acquired through various means including direct purchases from the five official Apple stores in China, transfers from China Unicom subscribers, or through unauthorized channels such as the black market, where iPhones are often smuggled into the country and sold in informal settings.

Wang also hinted at potential future developments, noting that China Mobile is eager to officially support the iPhone, especially once Apple creates a model compatible with China Mobile’s TD-LTE technology, a standard necessary for 4G connectivity. He mentioned that while there is no formal agreement with Apple as of now, there have been positive indications that Apple will incorporate support for TD-LTE in future iPhone models.

Discussions about this technology and a potential partnership have reportedly taken place between Apple executives, including Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, and senior executives at China Mobile.

As the largest wireless carrier in the world, China Mobile’s adoption of the iPhone could significantly expand Apple’s market share in China. Despite the lack of a formal partnership, Wang expressed a positive outlook regarding the unauthorized use of iPhones on their network, noting, “We have 10 million iPhones on our network and we haven’t had to invest in subsidies.” This situation presents a unique advantage for the carrier.

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Matthew is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing insightful and engaging content to Apple enthusiasts around the world. With a deep love for all things Apple, Matthew covers everything from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to MacBook innovations and Apple Watch updates. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex tech topics accessible to everyone. When he’s not writing, Matthew enjoys exploring new apps and testing out the latest Apple gadgets.