The imminent arrival of the the much coveted Apple iPhone to China has brought with it many challenges. Many tech pundits have been speculating if Apple will create a iPhone specifically for China given that China Mobile, the carrier that will carry the phone, will use the locally developed 3G standard TD-SCDMA. iPhones around the world currently support the more widely accepted W-CDMA standard which will be adopted by rival 3G mobile carrier, China Unicom.
The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that according to the Daiwa Institute of Research, China Mobile has asked Apple to release iPhones that have had their wi-fi and 3G capabilities disabled so that the phones, which are not compatible with the China Mobile 3G standard, so that buyers of the phone will not be able to switch to mobile providers that utilise standards compatible with the phone.
This sounds to us like a fairly clumsy solution to the problem as it effectively downgrades the functionality of the new 3G iPhone to one that is even worse than the original one that had wi-fi capabilities.
Daiwa analyst Calvin Huang said that Taiwan Hon Hai Precision Industry, which is responsible for assembling iPhone products for Apple, is waiting for verification from the mainland to ship the phone without W-CDMA and Wi-Fi functions. [source]
The better solution would be that the iPhone is modified to support TD-SCDMA but the decision to do so would be based on Apple’s perception of the opportunities available in China.
At this news you can almost hear the cheers from black marketers hocking fully functional, jailbroken iPhone’s from the US and Hong Kong.
Photo by Fr3d.org
UPDATE: China Unicom is promoting it’s W-CDMA 3G service with iPhone