Apple(s aapl) may not have created the iPhone 5C as a low cost phone, however it now has two phones to sell to China. And the largest carrier in the world, China Mobile(s chl), looks like it will finally be selling iPhones to its more than 700 million subscribers. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center provided a license for Apple’s phones to run on China Mobile’s network.
This news isn’t the final part of a deal; I’d expect an official announcement from Apple within days, if not hours. Effectively, however, Apple’s phones now have the regulatory approval needed for China Mobile to offer the handsets to customers. The approved phone is said to work with on both China Mobile’s 3G and 4G technologies.
That’s interesting since China Mobile uses a different 3G network technology than what the announced iPhones actually support. China Mobile’s 3G technology is based on TD-SCDMA, so even though the new iPhone supports 17 different LTE bands (including China Mobile’s future TD-LTE 4G networks), it still won’t work with the carrier’s current 3G network. It’s possible — likely even — that Apple still has one more edition of its new iPhones to debut: One that will specifically work on China Mobile.