NEW BLOG: The omission of China in the first wave of iPhone 6 launches has nothing to do with a crackdown on successful foreign companies, a willful delay in the certification process or a rethink in Apple’s simultaneous release in key markets around the world.
A former senior executive at China Mobile explained that the delay is simply a technical issue related to the phone’s new NFC capability, which previous iPhones didn’t have, so requires more time for review by authorities.
In addition to being certified by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, all handsets need a licence from the country’s Terminal Testing & Approval Forum (TAF), which is under the MIIT.
The source, who asked not to be named, said the mobile payment function makes the approval process more complicated and time consuming, with approval not expected for two weeks to two months. Given that the phone’s NFC functionality reportedly can only be used with Apple Pay, resolving that issue could be tricky for the TAF.
Adding to the complexity, Apple is seeking approval of two versions: CDMA(EV-DO)/LTE and W-CDMA/LTE.
Handset makers like Samsung and Sony have already had NFC models approved in China, so the process and documentation are in place.
Apple is no doubt keen to have supplies on hand as early as possible, knowing that more than a million customers in China have pre-ordered the iPhone 6 from the three telecoms giants.
Apple expects to sell eight million iPhone 6 models in China this year, which would be a difficult task if operators don’t have them until November.
With supplies already running short after selling a record four million globally in 24 hours, and deliveries stretching now into October, perhaps the delay in China will shorten wait times in other parts of the world.
The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.