China Mobile is looking to make its mark in the LTE market, with an announcement from the company noting that it is planning a major LTE push to improve its network and implement it more broadly.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is looking to spend $7 billion in order to improve its LTE network, setting up a structure to support the iPhone 5. Currently, China Mobile’s data speeds aren’t known to be the fastest and despite the company not offering the iPhone, there are a number of devices in use on the network.
This is similar to T-Mobile USA which does not officially offer the iPhone but allows users to unlock them and operate them on its network. Although recent reports have been suggesting that China Mobile will, in fact, offer the iPhone 5, the company did come out and say that there has been “no progress” on negotiations with Apple.
While China Mobile has been in talks with Apple for years over a potential deal to offer the iPhone, Chief Executive Li Yue said that there had been “no progress” to report. In January, Mr. Xi met Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook in Beijing and discussed cooperation, raising expectations that China Mobile would soon begin offering the iPhone.
China Mobile would be a key partner for Apple, which faces fierce competition from Samsung Electronics and other rivals offering smartphones powered by Google Inc.’s Android operating system.
It is unlikely that the iPhone 5 will remain off of China Mobile’s network for long, as it is common that Apple will eventually strike deals with major carriers that could potentially benefit them. China has been a major source of revenue for Apple, with the company experiencing heavy sales of its products in the region. Just last month, an analytics report suggested that iOS and Android devices were expected to hit 246 million units in the one month alone.