updated 05:49 pm EST, Sun December 22, 2013
iPhone to launch on world's largest carrier on January 17
Apple and China Mobile on Sunday announced the completion of a multi-year agreement to bring the iPhone to that carrier, the largest in the world. The deal will see Apple's bestselling iPhones sold in China Mobile's retail stores, as well as China Mobile-compatible iPhones in Apple retail stores across mainland China. The announcement marks the completion of a months-long process that has been marked by continual rumors and apparent delays, even as the last month seemed to confirm the iPhone's arrival, with the carrier opening reservations for the devices in early December.
The new iPhones will arrive on China Mobile on January 17. Pre-registration for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will begin on December 25. Customers can enter the pre-registration process by going to China Mobile's official website or calling its customer service hotline.
"Apple's iPhone is very much loved by millions of customers around the world. We know there are many China Mobile customers and potential new customers who are anxiously awaiting the incredible combination of iPhone on China Mobile's leading network. We are delighted that iPhone on China Mobile will support our 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA networks, providing customers with high-speed mobile service," said Xi Guohua, China Mobile Chairman.
"Apple has enormous respect for China Mobile and we are excited to begin working together. China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world's largest network," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO. "iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group, and we can't think of a better way to welcome in the Chinese New Year than getting an iPhone into the hands of every China Mobile customer who wants one."
With more than 760 million customers, China Mobile's subscriber base is larger than the population of every country in the world save China and India. The carrier has been rolling out 4G capabilities over the past several months, and the iPhone will launch on its 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA networks.