Apple has received a license for its iPhone to run on China Mobile’s network, the Wall Street Journal reports, which further proves that the world’s largest carrier could soon be announcing a deal with Apple.
Related: Here’s why Apple’s rumored deal with China Mobile has not been announced yet
According to the website of China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center, a “network access license” was given to handsets — likely to be the iPhone 5s and 5c — that run on the TD-LTE standard to be used by China Mobile for its 4G networks.
The iPhone was also granted licenses to run on China Unicom and China Telecom’s networks, which makes it the first time that all three Chinese operators will be able to carry the iPhone and reach a large part of the country’s huge population.
Notably, China Mobile has over 740 million customers, which would significantly widen Apple’s reach and sales efforts in China’s mobile market.
Chinese operators typically start new devices within weeks of approval by the regulator. At its iPhone launch event on Tuesday — where Apple announced the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c — the US firm said that its new handsets would go on sale in China on September 20th, the same time as in the US, for the first time ever.
However, China Mobile was conspicuously absent from Apple’s event on Tuesday. This could be because the regulatory approval is for the TD-LTE network — and China Mobile and Apple will likely want to wait for Chinese authorities to launch the 4G network before it unveils a partnership.
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