China Mobile and Apple announced today that the Chinese carrier will start selling the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on January 17, 2014. The carrier will start accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5s via the carrier’s official website (www.10086.cn) and its customer service hotline “10086” beginning on Wednesday, December 25, 2013. This is a multi-year agreement that will likely include future versions of the iPhone.Both China Mobile and Apple seem pleased with the deal, which will bring the iPhone to the world’s largest cellular carrier. As of this quarter, China Mobile has over 700 million subscribers, which eclipses the largest carriers in the US — Verizon Wireless and AT&T, both of which have between 100 and 120 million each. China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua and Apple CEO Tim Cook say in the 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,” said Xi Guohua, China Mobile Chairman.
“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,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO. “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.”
China Mobile customers looking to buy an iPhone on launch will be able to shop at China Mobile’s network of retail stores as well as Apple retail stores. Pricing will be available at a later date.