Airtel Bringing iPhone 3GS to India, China Mobile Wants in on iPhone and iPad

While it's easy to think the iPhone 3GS is everywhere now, TiPb still gets email asking when it will be in India, and on the largest carrier in the largest market in the world, China Mobile.

Well Macworld tells us Airtel has finally announced they'll be bringing the iPhone 3GS to India:

New Delhi, March 19, 2010 : Bharti Airtel and Apple have reached an agreement to bring iPhone 3GS, the fastest most powerful iPhone yet, to India in the coming months. For information please visit For more information on iPhone, please visit .

Meanwhile, Financial Times [registration required] reports that China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou is still interested as well, providing Apple addresses their special radio needs:

"including TD-SCDMA is not that hard to do - RIM is doing it". But he added that Apple had not yet responded to his proposal.

MacRumors points out that while China Mobile is a monster, their 3G customer base remains small, but should grow from 3.4 to 10 million this year.

Either way, these represent two holes in Apple's iPhone coverage and it's nice to see at least one of them getting filled.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Airtel Bringing iPhone 3GS to India, China Mobile Wants in on iPhone and iPad


oh my god, Apple India does such a terrible job at EVERYTHING. Who the hell is in charge and why are they not yet fired/shot?

Many people on that China Mobile carrier. But still, just one "little" minor change to the iPhone just for the world's largest carrier. Let alone, I think it's a CDMA carrier. I highly disagree with the next CDMA apple iPhone, and for sure disagree about this possibility of SCDMA thing chip on a future iPhone. It'll mess up the traditional GSM iPhone relationship.

Just to clear the air....
1.)iphones have been in India since August 2007
Majority of cell phones in India sell without a carrier/contract ie.. BB _ iphone_Htc etc etc.... It just works out better and easier no unlock issues ... no contracts none of tht crap.. Pick what ever plans you like.
2.)Joe- dont bring up absurd issues here... no fu*k face terrorist has blown jak up wid an iphone.... maybe nokias.... ^^
3.)John i kinda agree with you that apple needs to step up its game in India there's massive hunger for them here.. but on the other hand there's no official istore of sort... instead there are distributors and premium resellers.(They do suck donkey di*k and desperately need to reach global standards) ( i dont wana stand next to some clown eating a samosa and reeking of bo telling me how great a mac is and which model to buy -.- ugh some one help us -.-
4.) My personal opinion is that Vodafone India should start importing or nationally buying micro sim cards to gear up for the ipad... I would recommend structuring the plans same way as Atnt has done.

No one else worried that there doing a deal for the 3GS? Why not do a deal on iPhone 4 if its coming in A few months? Why take on the 3GS this late unless a version 4 isn't coming?

TD-SCDMA is not CDMA, it's a Chinese homebrew 3G standard, and it is closer to UMTS/WCDMA than it is to CDMA2000. I read it somewhere that the standard allows some kind of WCDMA/TD-SCDMA hybrid network, but apparently China Mobile only has permission to use TD-SCDMA in their 3G network. This is a list of 3G standards the current cellular operators in China use:
China Telecom: CDMA2000/EVDO
China Unicom: WCDMA/HSDPA <-- current partner with apple

@Michael: I'm in Brazil and there are 4 carriers that sell the iPhone. I bought my 3GS in August 2009...

you dont have 3g yet on these carriers in india, and we may have a new iphone in june, does apple really have to suck it like this, are these carriers dumb, they want 600$ for a and outdated locked unit?

Finally airtel officially today announced the Iphone 3GS and it will available in 26th march, this is really something good news for iphone Indian lover