updated 09:37 am EST, Wed December 18, 2013
Formal announcement expected soon
China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua has downplayed rumors that his company has already finalized a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone. Speaking to journalists during a conference in Guanzhou, the executive claimed that the Chinese carrier has no announcement to make and is still in talks with Apple, according to a Reuters report.
The comments contradict several recent rumors, fueled by an iPhone pre-order listing that China Mobile briefly slipped on its own website. The company a few days later listed Apple's smartphones on a reservation page for its LTE rollout, while a blogger took pictures of what appeared to be iPhone advertisements in one of the carrier's retail stores.
As the largest carrier in the world, with a subscriber base of approximately 760 million users, China Mobile is the last major Chinese carrier to embrace the iPhone. A recent survey suggested an official deal with China Mobile could result in at least 12 million iPhone sales, while analysts expect double that in the first year of availability.