China Mobile may finally start offering Apple’s iPhone on December 18

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China Mobile has announced that it will be introducing a new brand for mobile services on December 18th, which has sparked off speculations that the world’s largest carrier will finally start offering Apple’s iPhone.

Wall Street Journal reports:

The launch is expected during the company’s 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou, according to China Mobile’s website. An executive at the world’s largest mobile operator has said it is ready to start fourth-generation mobile services, though China has yet to issue 4G licenses. In September, China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center gave Apple the final license necessary for the iPhone to run on China Mobile’s network.

When Apple announced that China will be one of the first countries to get the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c back in September, it was widely speculated that the new iPhones would be available on China Mobile’s network as they supported the TD-LTE standard used by the Chinese carrier. This was followed by the approval of the new iPhones for China Mobile’s network by China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center.

However, China Mobile executives have said that the carrier will start offering Apple’s iPhone only after the launch of its 4G network, which is ready, but waiting for Chinese regulators to issue 4G licenses. The report claims that the Chinese regulators is widely expected to issue 4G licenses next week, so the iPhone launch on December 18th cannot be ruled out.

According to Hong Kong-based Mizuho Securities analyst Marvin, 10% or 70 million China Mobile’s 700 million subscribers could be potential customers for the iPhone.

[Via WSJ]