Apple‘s growth in China is hinged upon it signing a deal with one of the bigger networks, and that’s exactly what Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty is saying she’s heard whispers of. Specifically Huberty says “TD-LTE licenses, and related phone launches, are expected by year end.” Current iPhones aren’t compatible with the China-only TD-LTE 4G technology, so that implies Apple will have to build a special variant. That’s something it’s certainly done before, for Verizon’s ageing CDMA protocol, and the year-end timing absolutely corresponds with what we’ve heard about Apple’s launch plans.
China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier in terms of revenue and subscriber numbers, and a deal with Apple could light a rocket under iPhone sales figures. Recent rumors had said regional carriers were balking at Apple’s terms for carrying the iPhone and this was affecting potential growth: This new rumor negates this argument.
[Image: By Flickr user ljrmike]