[photopress:it_steve_jobs_iphone.jpg,full,alignright]Contrary to earlier reports, Apple and China Mobile have not yet entered into negotiations to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest mobile network. This may be taken to suggest such talks are only likely closer to the release of a 3G version of the touchscreen handset later this year.
China Mobile Chief Executive Wang Jianzhou said, ‘We have not yet officially begun talks with Apple over the iPhone problem. As long as our customers want this kind of product, we will keep all options open.’
This seems odd. In January, Reuters cited a spokesperson for the China Mobile as saying that the two firms had ‘terminated talks.’ Later Steve Jobs said that there had been one meeting but nothing constructive had been discussed.
AppleInsider, which normally gets it right, has heard that negotiations are only likely to start closer to the release of a 3G-equipped iPhone.
As of last month, China Mobile maintained a subscriber base in excess of 375 million — more than the population of the United States and by far the largest in the world. Additionally, it is said to be providing service to some 400,000 first-generation iPhones that have been unlocked and smuggled into China.
They do exist. The writer has seen one. Price is around $700 which is not over the top considering the price of some high end phones. However, Apple is signing deals which makes the iPhone a replacement for the Blackberry and also has released code so that many specialized programs will start to appear and, perhaps, make those earlier phones redundant.
It will go on sale in China. Whether it will be China Mobile or another company willing to share the income with Apple — a major sticking point — remains to be seen.
Source: Apple Insider