Apple Finally Signs Deal With China Mobile for December iPhone Launch

Apple and China Mobile have finally reached a deal that will see the world's biggest mobile carrier offering the iPhone on its network, reports The Wall Street Journal.

China Mobile, which has more than 700 million subscribers, is expected to begin selling the iPhone around December 18 following a China Mobile conference in Guangzhou where the company is also expected to debut its 4G network. Earlier today, the Chinese government finally granted TD-LTE licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, the country's three major carriers.

china_mobile_subsidary_iphone5c5s
China Mobile is one of the last major carriers in the world that does not currently offer the iPhone, and the deal could bring a huge boost in sales to Apple. Currently, only China's smaller carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom, offer the iPhone on their 3G networks.

A deal with China Mobile would give Apple access to a subscriber base that is seven times the size of Verizon Wireless, the U.S.'s largest carrier. Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple's third biggest market after the U.S. and Europe in terms of revenue.

Apple and China Mobile have been in talks for several years, and CEO Tim Cook traveled to China to meet with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua back in July where the two made headway on a potential deal.

News of a finalized deal has been expected since September, as the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c were the first iPhones supporting China Mobile's TD-LTE standard. Apple also received the final license it needed to operate on China Mobile’s wireless standard back in September following the launch of the newest iPhones.

Update: A China Mobile spokesperson tells Reuters that the two companies are "still negotiating".

"We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," China Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei said, declining to elaborate. Apple also declined comment.

Top Rated Comments

Michael Scrip Avatar
105 months ago


Good news for Apple, but keep in mind that almost any China Mobile subscriber that wanted an iPhone already got one.

Oh I think Apple will sell a couple iPhones on China Mobile. Maybe even a few ;)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jav6454 Avatar
105 months ago
A new market means more $. Now if we could get rid of Icahn....
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Barron Avatar
105 months ago
Awesome!

Get ready for the stock to pass the $600 per share mark before year's end!

It's "on sale" right now. :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Temuco Avatar
105 months ago
China Mobile will sell A LOT of iPhones

I live in China and I use an iPhone 4s here. China Mobile has 2G service and it sucks!

It's so bad it's not worth using but people still do use iPhones on China Mobile however most people use China Unicom.

When China Mobile has 4G Internet service they will sell a lot of iPhones!

iPhones are very expensive here for the average person but there are so many people who want them this new service is definitely going to increase Apple's market share in China!

Illegitimate vendors are selling iPhones everywhere! You see so many illegitimate Apple stores you just can't believe how they can all make a living. In my city, Kunming, there are at least thirty if not many more!

Chinese people want iPhones! It's a prestige item and the use of China Mobile will really increase Apple sales and market share! This is a fact and indisputable.

The best news I heard today is that they already have the China Mobile system built into the current phones! That means I only have to change my Sim when I come back to the US and I can use GSM FDD-LTE there and TD-LTE in China... once I buy the new phone ...which will be a 6...:D
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Marc-SP Avatar
105 months ago
Twice now you've said the following:
"Everyone on China Mobile who wants an iPhone already has one." (no evidence found)
Well, "everyone" of course is not 100%, and that's why Apple will still sell some aditional milion iPhones with the "now with 3 and 4G enabled!", but it is a very high percentage. But please tell me a reson for the average chinese smarphone user NOT to already have an iPhone if you are in China Mobile, want one and have the money. Why should they have waited for this deal? (that could have come now, 1 year earlier, 2 years later o when the cows begin wearing a lightsaber).

[somehow offtopic] BTW "to be" on a network in China is not the same as USA. Most people use prepaid, and they change the SIM as they change their hairstyle, hehe, to get discounts because they moved to other province. Quite often I get a message or email from some friend saying "I changed my SIM. This is my new number" (and no, it's not a scam ;-)). So, they can change from Unicom to Mobile quite easily also.




Why would Apple spend years working on this deal then?
More phones sold, for sure (China mobile marketing will help). And finally having 3g and 4g will attract some more people too.



Oh and guess what? If they do have an iPhone on China Mobile already... they are even more likely to buy another iPhone next time without having to go the grey-market route.
If the official Apple Store in China is "gray market", then you are right ;-)
http://store.apple.com/cn/buy-iphone/iphone5s


It was good to have the iPhone on all 4 major carriers in the US... and it's even better to have the iPhone on all 3 major carriers in China. This is an absolute win for Apple all-around.
Nobody denied that. :confused:



I don't know why you're pooping on this news :D
I don't think putting things in context is pooping anything. :D

You should be glad when people add different perspectives to one topic. Or maybe you would prefer this kind of comments all over the place?:

"Apple FTW. Fandroids are doomed now. Run (or better, lag) for your lives. Next quarter 350 million (being conservative) more iPhones in China. Mwahahahaha!"
:D


BTW... no one expects Apple to sell an iPhone to each one of China Mobile's 700 million customers.
Sure?:
woow, that is a lot of subscribers! $$$$ for :apple:
This will make a few heads explode among the market share worshiping Android fans.
:p
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
9000 Avatar
105 months ago
We all knew it was coming, but it's welcome news nonetheless. So far, there's no after-hours market reaction, but it may well have been priced in already, particularly with the premature pre-orders and the earlier announcement that China had approved the 4G licenses.
I've found that even after it's prematurely factored into the price, good news wows some people when it hits and gives the stock a boost.

----------

Team Apple are happy campers today, and all those holding Apple stock, have reason to smile.
Those shorting AAPL will frown. There are a few people on MacRumors (not going to name anyone, but it's obvious) who don't own Apple products and hate everything the company does, and my guess is that they follow Apple because they're shorting it. :p
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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