Last week, China Unicom announced that it had secured a distribution deal with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) regarding its iconic handset, but that has not deterred the country’s largest carrier, China Mobile, from seeking a deal of their own.
ComputerWorld reports today that talks between Apple and China Mobile are still ongoing, according to a China Mobile spokeswoman. An Apple spokeswoman confirmed that its three-year distribution deal with China Unicom is not exclusive, but did not say whether they are considering additional partners.
Although China Unicom isn’t the largest provider in China, it was the obvious choice for Apple because the carrier is rolling out a 3G network that’s compatible with the technology currently being used in the iPhone. That differs from China Mobile, which uses a homegrown version of 3G called TD-SCDMA. Whether Apple would be willing to support such an obscure technology — even for the chance at reaching one of the world’s largest userbase — is unknown, especially since its been hesitant to even support CDMA.
Clearly, the technology was one hold-up in discussions between Apple and China Mobile, but also plans by the carrier to create its own App Store may have posed a conflict with the iTunes App Store.