According to China Mobile's chairman, Wang Jianzhou, a new 4G TD-LTE-compatible iPhone has already been discussed with Apple and is moving forward. Bloomberg reports the vague confirmation from Jianzhou:
"China Mobile and Apple hope to find a solution for close collaboration. We discussed this issue with Apple. We hope Apple will produce a new iPhone with TD-LTE. We have already got a positive answer from Apple."
Of course this quote is pretty broad, but it appears as though Jianzhou has confirmed that Apple is working with China Mobile to produce a TD-LTE iPhone. It is unknown whether that means the impending iPhone 5 will be that phone, but there definitely seems to be one in the near future.
The significance of this announcement lies in the fact that China Mobile is the world's largest mobile phone company, serving more customers than anyone else. Currently, Unicom is the only Chinese mobile carrier that offers the iPhone. China Mobile no doubt sees having the iPhone in its lineup as an integral part of its plan.
"China Mobile's homegrown third-generation TD-SCDMA network technology isn't compatible with current iPhones. Still, China Mobile attracted 8.5 million iPhone users to its second-generation network," Wang said today. "Those users either accept slower Internet connections on the 2G network, or access the Web over the company's Wi-Fi network."
With no clear clues on whether or not the iPhone 5 will include 4G (in the U.S. or otherwise), it looks like we will have to wait for an official announcement from Apple on this one. Do you think Apple will include 4G LTE or TD-LTE compatibility in the iPhone 5? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!