Chinese iPhone users will soon be able to connect to the country’s second-largest wireless carrier China Unicom’s 4G network, according to the Chinese Digi. The blog obtained an alleged internal document from Apple’s mailing list confirming the compatibility, which is interesting as earlier this month China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a license for the carrier to trial a hybrid 4G network.
In the leaked internal document, there are a couple of iPhone 5s and 5c models visible: On the Apple support page, we find that A1518, A1528, and A1530 are the iPhone 5s GSM models, while either A1516, A1526, or A1529 is the iPhone 5c GSM model for China.
The iPhone 5s A1528 model is currently available unlocked and contract-free for use on China Unicom’s network but does not officially support 4G LTE or CMDA EV-DO connectivity. It can be hacked to run on China Mobile’s 4G LTE network (compatible with UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA and GSM).
The A1530 iPhone 5s model is compatible with FDD-LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 20 and TD-LTE bands 38, 39, and 40 (as well as select UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA connectivity) — which is intended mostly for Asia Pacific markets, China included.
The above tech details are important because the Chinese blog claims that China Unicom will update the configuration file to support its 4G network, although the release date is yet unknown. The update will be available for the following devices: iPhone 5s A1528, A1530 and iPhone 5c A1526, A1529.
Currently, the carrier is busy testing a unique hybrid 4G network that will integrate both the TD-LTE and FDD-LTE standards.