China Mobile has 10 million iPhone users on its network, despite not having any agreement with Apple, its chairman Wang Jianzhou has revealed.
According to Wang, the Cupertino company had previously promised to make an iPhone compatible with the Chinese carrier's homegrown TD-LTE (time division long-term evolution) standard when its 4G model is released. However, he did not reveal when this would take place, Reuters reported Monday.
"We have not yet [entered into an] agreement with Apple," Wang told the newswire on the sidelines of the ITU World telecoms fair in Geneva. "Apple promised to provide, when they develop the iPhone for LTE, that it will include TD-LTE. We are discussing the details," he said, adding that the company met several times with Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and former chief executive prior to his death earlier this month.
While China Unicom is currently the only carrier offering the iPhone, Wang said there are 10 million iPhones in China Mobile's network, and it "didn't pay any subsidies".
The company is currently developing its next-generation TD-LTE mobile network technology and commercial trials will begin next year in some Chinese cities, Wang said.
China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, had more than 630 million customers at the end of September, but many of them are lower-end users who make voice calls and send text messages, Reuters noted.