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China Mobile Requests iPhone Without 3G or WiFi

The SCMP, citing a report from the Daiwa Institute of Research, reports that Daiwa analyst Calvin Huang has said the company responsible for assembling iPhone products for Apple, Taiwan Hon Hai Industry is waiting for verification from the mainland to ship the phone without the W-CDMA and WiFi functionality.

The theory is that seeing as how China Mobile is widely expected to have to build out its eventual 3G network using the Chinese developed TD-SCDMA format and by disabling the 3G, the iPhone would be less attractive to those tempted to buy it and unlock it for use on the expected W-CDMA network from China Telecom.

Talks to between Apple and China Mobile regarding the possibility of bringing the iPhone to China have been arduous for all concerned. It’s these drawn out talks and the size of the mobile market in China that has driven the amount of unlocked iPhones in the country sky-high. While there are plenty of jailbroken iPhones elsewhere, those countries do at least have the option of a locked iPhone with one of the exclusive providers, for China it’s an unlocked iPhone or none at all.

China Mobile no doubt hopes that by restricting the functions of the handset to better suit it’s network it will remain the preferred network for potential iPhone owners. According to research firm In-Stat, there could be as many as 28 million potential users for the iPhone in China. This number is based on the amount of people who purchase phones over 4,000 RMB ($533).

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