China Mobile now has 15 million iPhone users on its network, despite its customers being limited to 2G connections and the handset only having been on sale since August last year.
Not that the Chinese waited for the official release: more than seven million of them had already imported iPhones despite the lack of official support, and the fact that they were limited to 2G connectivity. But these days China Unicom and China Telecom both have 3G networks compatible with Apple's Jesus mobe, which makes it all the more remarkable that a million people a month are registering iPhones on China Mobile's network as Sina Tech reports.
Not that Steve Jobs would be surprised. When the iPhone was launched he was adamant that 3G was unnecessary, that network subsidies weren’t required and that no one wanted to download native applications. Apple conceded on network subsidies first, then native applications, and finally added 3G connectivity, but it seems the ubiquity of Wi-Fi might yet prove Jobs right.
China Mobile has repeatedly asked Apple for a variant iPhone compatible with its 3G network, which uses the home-grown TD-SCDMA "standard", but Cupertino hates making custom modifications and only recently acknowledged alternative-3G-standard CDMA (with the iPhone 4S), and then only at frequencies used in the US.
That problem should disappear with 4G. Even Apple will have to support the TDD variant being deployed by China Mobile, as it's also being deployed across Europe and in the USA, but with a million new iPhones are connecting every month there seems little reason for China Mobile to worry about being compatible. ®