We’ll probably know within a few hours whether Apple’s new phones are coming to China Mobile or not; Apple is holding a press event in Beijing at 10 A.M. and is widely expected to announce some kind of deal with the nation’s largest mobile carrier. But eagle-eyed Weibo users have spotted an interesting detail on Apple’s Hong Kong website: the new 5S and 5C both support TD-LTE networks.
Currently there are TD-LTE networks deployed outside China (in India and Sri Lanka), and China Mobile has made deals for test networks in numerous other countries. But since the technology was developed by China Mobile, the presence of TD-LTE compatibility on the new iPhones suggests that Apple expects its phones to be usable on China Mobile’s 4G network.
With that said, there’s a good chance the phones won’t be available for China Mobile at launch, because the company’s 4G network isn’t actually commercially available yet. We know that it will be coming to China at some point this year, but with no rumblings of an imminent 4G launch, it is highly unlikely that the network will be available in time for the iPhones’ debut on Sept. 20. (However, China Mobile fans could presumably still buy unlocked devices at launch and then sign up for 4G service later when the network becomes available.)