For the sake of bottom-line and profit margin, mobile operators in China could be better off the iPhone wagon! Galaxy is now a strong enough contenders. Hopefully, the WP8 smartphones from Nokia can be a strong player in the ring too. Plus, Lenovo Mobile is coming back. With Huawei / ZTE / Coolpad / Xiamei / Meizu coming up strongly, plus the home-court advantage, iPhone is sailing against a strong head wind in China.
iPhone is losing the halo. iPhone4s generally cost more to buy new than most smartphone like the Galaxy S3, but with inferior specification. High price, hence poor performance-to-price ratio makes it become un-attractive in the young generation. Samsung is getting strong in the China market, after so many years of cultivation. As a result, iPhone's no longer command the top price in the 2nd hand market. The next 12 months should be very exciting.
I was told that iPhone on China Telecom does not operates fully on its CDMA-based 3G network. In any case, iPhone is no longer seen as a smartphone with leading feature and capabilities. That is, iPhone has a poor capability-to-price ratio (often used by consumers to gauge buying decision) when compared to Galaxy S3 and others, Apple needs China Mobile more than the reverse.
Iphone is already widely in use for China Mobile, it's just not using 3G. Since unlike the US, initial phone cost is subsidized by expensive data plans, mobile vendor are offering iphones for China Mobile, even though there isn't an official China Mobile iphone.
That being said, I don't believe there will be a TD-CDMA version of iphone, TD-LTE maybe, but not this year.
The market force is bigger than vendor push. Given the size of China market, I am pretty sure Apple is very interested in getting a big chunk of it. Chinese might as well be very interested given the fact that a "2nd hand" iPhone sold for a fortune in China. Whether China Mobile is willing to sign up iPhone is another question. I believe China Mobile and Nokia have a tight partnership. Let see how thing will turn out.