China Mobile Has 10 Million Unofficial iPhone Users

Despite the fact that China Mobile doesn’t have an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone, its network counts 10 million iPhones users, as the company reported this morning via Reuters.

With 630 million customers, those 10 million iPhone users are just a drop in the bucket. But they do tell a lot about how much China wants the iPhone…

Wang Jianzhou also said Apple had promised to make the iPhone compatible with China Mobile’s TD-LTE standard when its next-generation model comes out. He would not say when this will happen.

“We have not yet got agreement with Apple,” Wang said on the fringes of the ITU World telecoms fair in Geneva. “Apple promised to provide, when they develop the iPhone for LTE, that it will include TD-LTE. We are discussing the details.”

China Mobile has previously said it had met several times with Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and former chief executive who died this month, to discuss introducing an iPhone based on its own home-grown network standard.

The company is developing its next-generation TD-LTE mobile network technology, and Wang said there should be commercial trials next year in some cities.

This situation reminds us of T-Mobile US, who doesn’t sell the iPhone either, but still manages to have 1 million unlocked iPhone users on its network.

China is a widely untapped market for Apple. Once they company makes devices compatible with its local networks, sales for the iPhone should reach new heights.