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China Mobile Still Pushing Apple to Adopt TD-SCDMA for iPhone

The Financial Times reports (registration required) that China Mobile continues to express interest in bringing the iPhone to its network, but that little progress has been made on convincing Apple to adopt the TD-SCDMA standard utilized by the carrier.

Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile chairman and chief executive, said at the group's annual results yesterday that "including TD-SCDMA is not that hard to do - RIM is doing it". But he added that Apple had not yet responded to his proposal.

Wang's comments suggest that essentially no progress has been made since a September report indicating that TD-SCDMA remained the major stumbling block for Apple and China Mobile. China Mobile is the world's largest mobile carrier with over 500 million customers, representing a significant market opportunity for Apple should an agreement be reached.

The carrier's 3G customer base remains small, however, as it seeks to boost its numbers from 3.4 million customers to over 10 million in the next year. As it has struggled to roll out its 3G service, smaller rivals such as China Unicom and China Telecom have been grabbing an increasing percentage of new subscribers.

Apple has offered the iPhone in China since last October through China Unicom, which uses the same 3GSM/UMTS standard available on the rest of the iPhone's carrier partners around the world.

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