There’s been a lot of buzz today, as well over the course of the weekend, about Apple being interested in developing an LTE iPhone for the Chinese market. China Mobile’s Chairman Wang Jianzhou, while attending the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has said publicly that they have been talking to Apple for years regarding LTE, and bringing the iPhone to China Mobile.
Currently the iPhone is available in China from China Unicom, but China Mobile Ltd is the world’s largest mobile carrier, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Apple was interested in bringing the iPhone 5 to the company.
Everyone from The Wall Street Journal to PCWorld has mentioned Wang’s words over the last couple of days, but most references seem to be a regurgitation of a paraphrase from Bloomberg. Bloomberg had this to say,
“Jobs has expressed his interest in an LTE iPhone and is willing to start the development at an early date,” Chairman Wang Jianzhou said outside of a Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meeting in Beijing today. Carolyn Wu, an Apple spokeswoman in Beijing, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and phone call seeking comment.
If LTE is an option for a future iPhone, then China would surely reap the benefits, as they plan to spend 1.4 billion dollars on 4G networks by 2014.
Given the fact that China’s 4G network won’t be nearing completion until 2014, and that most of the world still testing 4G networks, it would be a bit of a stretch to assume that LTE would be included in the iPhone 5. Most of us wouldn’t even be able to use it for another year or two. If anything we’re talking at least iPhone 6 or iPhone 7 here, but that’s based on my gut feeling and speculation at this point.