China Mobile is the world’s largest operator. They have over 700 million subscribers, which is more than double the population of the United State of America. The thing is, they’ve never offered their customers the iPhone. Why? Probably because they were playing hardball with Apple, but more importantly, they use network standards and spectrum bands that aren’t exactly in tune with the rest of the world. For as long as the iPhone 5s has been rumored, there have also been rumors about it being the first iPhone to launch on China Mobile.
After years of negotiations, Apple may have finally inked an iPhone distribution deal with the world’s largest wireless carrier, China Mobile. Apple allegedly told Foxconn to add China Mobile to its list of carriers that are eligible to receive the iPhone 5C. Details on when the phones will land with the Chinese carrier were not revealed, but we will likely find out more during Apple’s September 11th event in Beijing.
Despite having multiple rounds of talks over the past few years, Apple still hasn’t got China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, on-board to carry the iPhone. This time, though, it seems the two parties have finally struck a deal, as Apple gets ready to announce the cheaper iPhone 5C with a special event in China.
It goes without saying that the world is a big place. If you’re a company launching a product that’ll be available internationally, do you want to unveil that product on the West Coast in the morning so the Europeans find out about it in the afternoon and Asia finds out about it the next day, or do you hold an event in Europe so the Americans find out about it as they get out of bed?
China has been time and again highlighted as the next area of growth for Apple, but of late, the company’s sales in the region have declined due to growing competition from Chinese smartphone makers. But if all goes well, Apple might see an increase in China sales after the launch of the iPhone 5C.
We had a sneaking suspicion that Tim Cook was talking to China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless operator with over 740 million subscribers, but now we have absolute confirmation. China Mobile issued a statement to Reuters saying they met with Tim Cook on Tuesday, but they didn’t get into any specifics as to what they discussed.
According to Chinese website, iFeng.com (via MacRumors), Apple’s CEO Tim Cook visited China recently.
The report speculates that Cook may have visited the country to discuss the decline in year-on-year revenue in the last quarter. Apple had reported a surprise drop of 14% in revenue in China.
China Mobile — the world’s largest wireless carrier — is making a big bet on 4G LTE, with a planned investment of nearly $7 billion to build infrastructure towards this goal. The 4G network would be compatible with handsets made by most major manufacturers, including Apple, indicating that the company is getting ready to carry the iPhone 5.
Reuters reports that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook who is on a visit to China met with China Mobile’s Chairman Xi Guohua.
The visit has sparked speculations of the possibility of Apple and China Mobile – the country’s largest mobile operator striking a deal to offer iPhone on its network.