Deal with China’s largest carrier could open iPhone floodgates
A breakthrough by Apple in China could soon be on the cards after the Cupertino giant posted an advert for someone to manage its operations in the region, insisting that “extensive knowledge” of the TD-SCDMA comms protocol was needed – as used exclusively by China Mobile. In August this year  research firm IDC reported that Apple was still losing ground in China, where its market share almost halved in the past year. But that could be reversed if Apple could strike a deal with China Mobile, the nation’s largest carrier with around 750 million subscribers but which has yet to offer a subsidised iPhone on its network.
Though Apple CEO Tim Cook has been in regular talks with his counterpart at China Mobile, chairman Xi Guohua, part of the problem has been the TD-SCDMA protocol used solely by the carrier and which the iPhone doesn’t support.
That, however, could change with the advent of new chips from Qualcomm that help smartphones access not only China Mobile’s 3G network, but also its upcoming 4G service.
That alone could soon allow Apple to finally launch a compatible iPhone without making design sacrifices.
Now, further evidence that a deal is likely has come with the news that Apple is seeking to recruit an engineer with in-depth TD-SCDMA knowledge to drive its operations across the region.
“As the manager for Greater China,” states the job posting, “this role will be responsible for the overall management of the technical interface to all carriers in the Greater China region.”
“This includes obtaining approvals for all Apple hardware and software, supporting carriers with new technology trials, managing carrier reported technical issues, tracking carrier roadmaps and supporting senior level engineering meetings.”
Meanwhile, four smartphones supporting a TD-LTE network have recently won approval by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
While the iPhone was not among the four announced, sources inside MIIT suggest the iPhone 5S was approved, with a separate announcement due imminently.