Date
24 October 2017

China Mobile harmony brand, iPhone links in tune with 4G launch

It’s a new day so I figured that’s a good enough excuse to write about the latest 4G wireless services rumors, which seem to be coming almost daily. The newest speculation looks a bit sexier than other recent chatter, this time unveiling the brand name industry leader China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) will use for its new service, and also adding that the company will finally offer an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone for the network when it formally launches the service later this month.

Word of the actual launch date, in this case Dec. 18, was probably the least interesting news in this latest report. That’s because every report I’ve read these last few months nearly always contains a launch date that is ultimately incorrect, and there’s no reason to believe that this new report will break that trend.

Of course I’m being just slightly sarcastic, as I honestly do believe that China Mobile will launch its 4G service before the end of this year, which means such an event would have to happen sometime this month. When that does happen, it’s quite possible that an iPhone could be part of the rollout since such a move would obviously provide great publicity for China Mobile, the only one of the mainland’s three wireless carriers without an iPhone deal.

The latest media reports are focusing on China Mobile, which has aggressively built up its 4G network over the last three years and is almost certain to be the first to offer the service. The company has been aggressively advertising its 4G service for the last two months, and is even taking pre-orders in some markets.

Now the latest media reports are saying the world’s largest mobile carrier will formally offer its 4G service under the He brand name, which translates to peace or harmony in English. The same reports are also saying that China Mobile will launch versions of the latest iPhone models, the 5s and 5c, that can run on the network it has built, which uses a homegrown Chinese technology called TD-LTE.

In terms of the latest reports on China Mobile’s selection of a brand and the iPhone rollout, I do think that both moves look smart. Selection of a brand for such a new service is quite obvious, and the He name is catchy enough as it combines the ideas of peace and harmony with other meanings like convergence.

The launch of a China Mobile iPhone has been under discussion for the last three years, but the final announcement of a deal at this time would also be a shrewd move to give the company’s 4G service some quick momentum from the very beginning.

I’ve previously predicted that China Mobile could quickly sign up as many as 10 million new 4G subscribers in the first one to two months after it launches the service, and would reaffirm that forecast after these latest reports.

Bottom line: China Mobile’s choice of a brand name and potential inclusion of an iPhone for its 4G service look like strong moves that could give it a quick boost when it launches services later this month.

SK

 

 

A commentator on China company news and associate professor in the journalism department of Fudan University in Shanghai. Follow him on his blog at www.youngchinabiz.com.

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