Sadly, only 80 million of China Mobile's subscribers are using its 3G services, so the carrier hopes the iPhone introduction will spearhead the adoption of higher-margin plans.
China Mobile is to get Apple's iPhone officially as soon as possible, reported the carrier in its latest quarterly earnings presentation. Steve Jobs has evidently already met several times with China Mobile executives on the matter, and we might see the iPhone appearing with its homebrew TD-SCDMA network frequencies as soon as the next generation is announced.
Now, if it is going to be just the real deal iPhone 5, a rumored iPhone 4 update with a plastic chassis and upgraded internals selling for cheap, or a combination of both, remains to be seen, but currently China Mobile reports 7.44 million iPhone users on its network, without even being able to use the 3G speeds, so the opportunities are definitely out there for Apple. Last quarter Greater China accounted for $4.8 billion of revenue for Cupertino, which surprised even Tim Cook himself.