Bloomberg reports that China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou revealed during an interview today that China Mobile has been discussing the production of a 4G LTE iPhone model that will work on China Mobile’s TD-LTE network with Apple, and claims that Apple has already given them a positive answer.
The iPhone is currently only available to China Unicom, although reports suggest that China Telecom might begin accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5 later this month. China Mobile is China’s single largest mobile carrier, with over 611 million subscribers.
Current models of the iPhone operate on most 3G data networks, but as faster 4G networks begin spreading across the globe, many await Apple’s official support of 4G data standards such as LTE.
Tim Cook has previously stated that current LTE chips force design changes that Apple is unwilling to make, but future iPhone’s and iPads may use newer second-generation chips to support the standard in the future.
Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPhone 5 on China Mobile’s network this year, although it will likely only operate at 3G speeds, lacking support for the faster TD-LTE standard. Wang has previously stated that Apple has “made it clear” that future updates to the iPhone will support long-term evolution 4G technology.