By Zhu Shenshen | 2011-6-24 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
CHINA Mobile is expected to offer iPhone, likely a 4G version, on its network in September, sources said yesterday.
"A new iPhone with China Mobile's network will debut and the cooperation will be announced in September," China Mobile's Beijing-based marketing official Liu Yang said on his microblog yesterday. "People will not need to change their mobile numbers to use iPhone."
It's not clear when the China Mobile iPhones will be in stores.
At present, China Unicom is Apple's sole partner for the iPhone on the Chinese mainland. It means China Mobile's users have to switch carriers and change numbers for China Unicom's 3G services to use an iPhone.
A recent photograph of Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, in China Mobile's office in Beijing has spread online, generating further speculation the companies are close to signing a deal.
Cook is widely regarded as the second most powerful person at Apple behind Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs.
Apple China, however, declined to comment yesterday.
Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile's chairman, said several times that the world's biggest mobile carrier is in talks with Apple to launch iPhone with its networks.
Meanwhile, China Mobile is testing and developing 4G networks nationwide, which are expected to debut next year.
4G is expected to be four to 10 times faster than 3G networks.