China Mobile (NYSE:CHL)
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China Mobile Ltd. (0941.HK) is still in talks with Apple Inc. (AAPL) to offer the iPhone in China, but any deal would likely happen after the company launches next-generation wireless services, an executive said Wednesday.
"It's more likely that we'll see a deal after our 4G service is launched," China Mobile Vice President Xin Fanfei said on the sidelines of the Mobile Asia Congress, a mobile telecommunications conference.
The iPhone has been available in China since 2009 through the country's second largest carrier, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., and Apple has created a Chinese version of its App Store. But China Mobile, the world's largest carrier, has more than 600 million subscriber accounts, compared with about 200 million at China Unicom.
Analysts have said the timing for China Mobile to offer the iPhone partly depends on whether Apple decides to offer the device for the carrier's homegrown technology standard, TD-SCDMA, or waits until the carrier rolls out a fourth-generation network called TD-LTE, which China Mobile has been testing in select cities.
An Apple representative wasn't immediately reachable for comment.
-By Lorraine Luk, Dow Jones Newswires; 852-2802-7002; email@example.com