Apple’s much rumored deal with China Mobile to bring its iPhones on the carrier has finally been signed, sealed and delivered.
Rumors of an iPhone launch on China Mobile have been circulating for quite some time now. However, earlier this year, China Mobile confirmed that several technical and commercial issues remained which were getting in the way of a launch. Prior to the release of iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, Apple CEO Tim Cook flew down to China where he met with the carrier’s top brass. Since that meeting speculation about an impending launch mounted. The new iPhones come out back in September, almost three months later, they’ll finally make an official appearance on the world’s largest mobile carrier.
The China Mobile iPhone launch was apparently stretched out this far due to the fact that the carrier is yet to switch on its commercial 4G services. Licenses have already been granted and according to China’s state news agency, China Mobile’s TD-LTE service goes live on December 18. The Wall Street Journal reports today, citing people familiar with the matter, that the new iPhones will launch on China Mobile at or around the same date.
Getting its iPhones on a carrier with over 750 million subscribers is no doubt beneficial for Apple. An analyst recently predicted that a 10 percent penetration of China Mobile’s high speed data subscriber base can result into $10 billion in additional yearly revenue for Apple.