updated 01:38 am EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
World's largest carrier inadvertently confirms 4.7- and 5.5-inch models
China Mobile, the top carrier in China with over 800 million subscribers (and more than 20 million LTE users), opened pre-orders for the iPhone 6 to Beijing customers on Tuesday. Surprisingly, the carrier has seemingly confirmed the existence of two models, at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, and reported over 33,000 preorders in the first few hours. Customers can also save a place in line for the (unrevealed) debut date through the company's website.
Despite only accepting online pre-orders rather than pickup reservations, and being limited to Beijing only, demand appears to be strong even though the product has yet to be formally announced. Setting up pre-orders way in advance of a confirmed ship date is not unusual for China Mobile, at least with iPhones, reports AppleInsider.
While most customers of China Mobile are still on feature phones, the trend to upgrade to smartphones and even premium smartphones has mirrored that of the US. The company reports about 238 million 3G users, and in just the past six months since China Mobile formally opened its LTE network, the number of LTE subscribers has grown to over 20 million from the initial signups of 1.3 million.
Because of its current user base and future upgrading potential, China Mobile is among the most important carriers in the world to Apple. China is certain to be among the first countries to receive the iPhone 6 models when they ship, despite the fact that China uses a non-standard version of 3G and LTE. The company is expected to reveal the new iPhone -- or iPhones -- at a press event on September 9 in Cupertino.