China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua announced on Wednesday at a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong that his company is attempting to work with Apple to create a network compatible iPhone that will allow the company to compete with other mobile providers who already offer the device and other popular smartphones that are not currently compatible with the company’s own hardware.
The conference was Guohua’s first since taking over in March as CEO following the retirement of Wang Jianzhou. While Xi would not comment further on his talks with Apple he did say a partnership was not yet guaranteed, noting:
“China Mobile and Apple both have the will to strengthen cooperation. When there is more specific news, we will disclose it.”
China Mobile is believed to be losing customers at a rapid rate because of its 3G network which runs on a native standard that is not supported by many of the worlds top smartphones. Because of that decision many customers have fled to China Unicom and China Telecom, both which offer popular Google Android and iPhone devices that work on currently installed 3G data networks.
To strengthen its ties with data hungry customers the company is believed to be working on a TD-LTE 4G network that will allow for iPhone development. According to reports China Mobile has been in talks with Apple since September 2011, talks that would ultimately help create the networks first TD-LTE 4G iPhone.
Rumors have been circulating for some time now that the iPhone 5 would rely on LTE support as a main feature of the device, however it has been believed that such technology would only operate on Canadian and American LTE bands up until this point. In the meantime the new iPad already uses the long-term evolution standard.