Earlier this month, the WSJ claimed that Apple and China Mobile had inked a deal that would bring the iPhone to the world’s largest carrier. This report was quietly refuted by a China Mobile representative, who said talks were still ongoing. Another report today from Reuters confirmed there is still no new announcement to make.
Speaking to reporters during a conference in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua said on Wednesday that his company is not ready to announce a deal with Apple to carry the iPhone. Though nothing is official, a deal can’t be too far away as the carrier is still accepting iPhone 5s pre-orders on its Beijing site, as noted by Forbes.
A deal with China Mobile is significant for Apple as the company stands to earn up to $3 billion from China Mobile sales, analysts predict. China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile phone carrier with 759 million customers. It eclipses carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which have approximately 120 and 110 million customers each, respectively. Wall Street is anxious for a China Mobile deal. When an official announcement didn’t hit the news wire today, Apple’s stock fell slightly as a result.