China Mobile Ltd revealed that it had reached a consensus with Apple Inc on the use of its 4G technology on iPhones to be offered by the Chinese mobile provider, according to a brief report on Marketwatch. “4G” refers to the faster next generation data technology in mobile phones. The iPhone 4 presently uses “3G” data technology to connect to the internet over cellular networks.
China Mobiles Chairman Wang Jianzhou was less forthcoming with any details surrounding the deal but did say that the company is planning to start commercial trials of the 4G technology (TD-LTE) in China beginning next year.
Wang had previously hinted that Apple had “expressed interest” in developing an iPhone capable of running on the carrier’s upcoming TD-LTE network.
Time-division LTE (TD-LTE), developed by China Mobile, is a variation on the LTE standard that can offer certain benefits over traditional frequency-division LTE (FD-LTE), including lower cost of deployment and dynamic balancing of upload and download bandwidth. Reports have indicated that the same chip can be used to allow devices to access both traditional LTE and TD-LTE networks.
Though details are sparse, this claims in this report would fit into the rumored timeframe of a true 4G iPhone in 2012. Meanwhile, all present rumors seem to suggest that Apple will be launching the next new iPhone around September of 2011 but without 4G data technology.
Update: Bloomberg offers some additional details from Wang, though this report does not specifically say that Apple and China Mobile had come to an agreement.
The company may also be able to offer Apple Inc. (AAPL)s iPhone with the shift to TD-LTE, Wang said. While Apple has decided not to make a version of the phone for the third-generation TD-SCDMA system that is used only by China Mobile, the Cupertino, California-based company may produce one for the TD-LTE system, he said.