China Unicom has been Apple’s official carrier for the iPhone in China, but China’s largest carrier, China Mobile, has expressed interest in getting the iPhone onto their network as well. Previous rumors have suggested that Apple was beta testing a TD-SCDMA iPhone for a while now that will work on China Mobile’s network, but as we had said, with China Unicom performing extremely well and with the 10 million or so unlocked iPhones on China Mobile, new rumors are suggesting that Apple may be skipping over a TD-SCDMA iPhone and may instead focus on a 4G TD-LTE iPhone instead.
What this means is that while China Mobile will still support unlocked iPhones, there is a chance that the carrier will not be getting an iPhone of their own. There are reports suggesting that another reason why Apple is thinking about passing up on China Mobile is because the carrier has requested that Apple give them a cut of the sales from the iTunes App Store, a move which Apple has never agreed to do in the past.
With China Mobile’s subscribers numbering at over 628 million, the revenue from the cut that they could potentially receive from the iTunes App Store could be huge. Will Apple stand to gain more from the sales of the iPhone based on sheer number of subscribers China Mobile has, or will the cut from app sales be worth a lot more? We’ll let Apple do the math.