China Mobile officially confirmed its plans to sell the iPhone today with a new advertisement on its official website, though Apple’s smartphone won’t be available for pre-order from the carrier until Thursday, Dec. 12, a company representative told The Wall Street Journal. The device is expected to launch next week on Dec. 18, soon after the network launches its new 4G service.
The world’s biggest carrier is set to announce its official 4G launch at a special event in Guangzhou next week, before rolling out high speed service to the country’s major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjian, Shenzhen and Nanjing before the end of the year. China Mobile also confirmed it will offer a special pricing plan for the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, though the company couldn’t reveal the specifics of its plan.
China Mobile hasn’t offered any iPhone models in the past because it previously operated its own TD-SCDMA network, which wouldn’t support Apple’s line of smartphones. In the past few years, the carrier has steadily lost market share to competitors China Unicom and China Telecom, which were quicker to adopt the iPhone. With the launch of its 4G network, China Mobile can finally sell its own iPhone variant, and the company is expected to sell as many as 20 million units in 2014.