Apple is reportedly looking to hire an engineer with in-depth knowledge of China Mobile's network – a move which suggests the two firms are getting close to inking a historic deal.
The Chinese company is by far the largest mobile operator in the world, but does not yet allow its customers to walk away with a iPhone when they sign a contract. Analysts have said that Apple needs to forge an agreement that will change this situation, or risk watching its global growth slump.
Bloomberg spotted a job advert on the fruity firm's Chinese-language site, which since the Bloomberg report appears to have been filled or removed. It said Apple was looking for a Beijing-based manager to “support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones”.
The successful applicant will carry out technology trials, troubleshoot faults in the network and manage technical issues for all carriers in the region.
Any aspiring Apple engineer should also have experience with TD-SCDMA, a 3G communications standard which was developed by China Mobile and is not used by any other carrier.
The Chinese mobe operator is the largest in the world, boasting about 750 million customers. Perhaps surprisingly, Vodafone is the second biggest global mobile operator, with just under 440 million customers.
“China Mobile and Apple have been in talks on cooperation, and there is no information that can be disclosed,” China Mobile's press office said.
An Apple spokeswoman in China did not reply to repeated requests for comment by Bloomberg. ®