After frequent negotiations and long delays, Apple’s iPhone will finally be sold through China Mobile, which has a subscriber base upwards of 700 million. The Cupertino company officially announced the news on Sunday, saying the carrier will sell its latest iPhones, the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, beginning Jan. 17, which is less than a month away. The multi-year agreement concludes an ongoing conversation between the two entities, and could be a huge boon for Apple overseas.
China Mobile will sell Apple’s handsets directly through its retail stores; potential customers can also go directly to an Apple Store in mainland China.
“Apple’s iPhone is very much loved by million of customers around the world,” said Xi Guohua, China Mobile Chairman. “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.”
Over the past several months, speculation surrounding a potential deal gained in steam as displays, pre-orders and multiple high-ranking reports suggesting an agreement was all but a done deal. After securing regulatory approval, and Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c shipping with full support for China Mobile’s network, it became a matter of when, not if. With Android dominating most of the overseas affairs, Apple will now make a huge challenge in the next year.
“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to customers of the world’s largest network,” said Apple CEO Time Cook.
Pre-registration for Apple’s iPhone will be available beginning Wednesday, Dec. 25 through China Mobile’s official website and customer service hotline.