4G TD-LTE licenses officially issued by MIIT. Here comes China Mobile’s iPhone 5S and 5C
After months of waiting and dithering, China has finally entered 4G era.
Today Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has issued the first batch of 4G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. China Mobile got access to 130MHz of spectrum (1880 -1900 MHz ,2320-2370 MHz ,2575-2635 MHz), China Unicom will get 40MHz (2300-2320 MHz ,2555-2575 MHz) and China Telecom will also have 40MHz (2370-2390 MHz ,2635-2655 MHz) for their homegrown TD-LTE offerings.
4G licenses for FDD LTE services for China Unicom and Telecom will be issued separately.
Why do we care so much about China’s 4G? Mostly because of iPhone on China Mobile, of course.
The new 4G services should boost the sales of approved 4G handsets of all smartphone OEMs. But it’s Apple who will benefit the most, finally getting world’s biggest mobile carrier to officially promote the iPhone. According to some sources, there are 42 million unofficial iPhone users on China Mobile already. Due to the technological issues, none of them can access operator’s 3G TD-SCDMA network, and are stuck with Wi-Fi or slow GPRS/EDGE.
When iPhone 5S/5C with TD-LTE support becomes available on China Mobile, there will be a pool of millions of customers just from those rushing to upgrade. Add to that possible subsidies, other promotion activities, the upcoming Chinese New Year Gift Giving Season, and you can expect millions of additional iPhones sold in the next few months.
There’s no official confirmation yet, but the general consensus is that Apple already has a deal with China Mobile to finally start offering iPhone. But the companies have been waiting for China Mobile to launch its 4G network, with iPhone as a hero device showcasing the new services. The exact date for CM iPhone announcement is not known yet. It may be December 18th, when Chinese carrier holds its partner meeting day, and plans to announce its new 4G services brand.
But yesterday China Mobile sort of already confirmed that they are getting ready for the iPhone 5S/C launch, doing a limited test run for Apple’s smartphone pre-order site. And with the 4G license in hand, the announcement may come earlier.