The deal that many industry watchers have waited for has finally arrived. Apple announced Sunday that it will sell its iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c smartphones on China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, starting January 17, 2014.
Apple’s iPhone has been available in China on smaller carriers for several years, but a China Mobile deal has remained elusive until now. With over 760 million customers, China Mobile is by far the world’s largest mobile carrier, and while customers in China have long been able to use the iPhone unofficially, Sunday’s deal is expected to bring many new customers to Apple’s iOS ecosystem, significantly strengthening the company’s presence in the country.
China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua, via Apple’s press release:
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.
Apple CEO Tim Cook:
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. 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.
The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available in Apple Retail Stores and China Mobile stores starting Friday, January 17, 2014. Customers can pre-order the devices online beginning on Wednesday, December 25, 2013.
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