The rumors have come to pass, and Apple and China Mobile have signed a deal to launch the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in China. According to the Wall Street Journal, China Mobile and Apple have signed the contract and the 700 million subscribers the Chinese carrier has in its customer base will soon be able to purchase their new iPhones.
China Mobile is the largest carrier in the world by subscriber count, and a 700 million head market is a big stroke for Apple. That means that China Mobile’s customer base is around two times the entire population of the U.S. This deal has been in the making for several years, with Apple executives trying to get a contract inked with the giant wireless provider. No doubt the carrier will see great success with the iPhone launch to its customer base, which is largely made up of China’s middle class.
Apple has been marketing the iPhone in China, and the country is the second largest market for the Cupertino company, coming in behind the United States. However, Apple has been losing ground to other smartphone manufacturers, including Xiaomi. The reason for this is that competitors often offer cheaper options than the iPhone, which attracts more users.
In September, Apple was able to gain clearance from the Chinese government to allow China Mobile to operate the iPhone on its wireless network. This was a big victory for Apple, and quite possibly what has fueled the rumors surrounding the deal for the last few months. Earlier this week, China Mobile also made progress with the government, securing permission to operate a fourth generation network. This new type of network uses TD-LTE technology, which is extremely fast, and will replace the 3G network currently in place.
This deal could mean a huge boost for Apple in the coming weeks. The launch is rumored to be happening on December 18th, so we don’t have long to wait until we find out just how big this deal is for both companies.