UPDATE: A China Mobile spokesperson tells us that it has been in talks with Apple on cooperation, but there isn’t any further information that can be disclosed at present.
Our original story follows.
It’s been a long time in the making, but Apple has finally signed a deal with China Mobile to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest carrier with over 740 million customers, the Wall Street Journal reports.
This comes a day after Chinese authorities issued 4G licenses to the three major telecommunication operators in the country. Earlier this year, Apple already gained regulatory approval for its iPhones to run on the TD-LTE standard used by China Mobile for its 4G networks.
A deal with China Mobile would be a huge step forward for Apple, considering that it has never been present on China Mobile before. It would open up the iPhone to a whole lot more customers — already there are 42 million China Mobile customers who carry an iPhone, according to internal statistics.
Apple has not been able to offer the iPhone on China Mobile primarily because it has been unable to support the operator’s unique TD-SCDMA 3G network.
Apple’s Q4 2013 earnings showed that for the full year, the greater China region generated $27 billion in revenue, up 14 percent year-on-year. Company CEO Tim Cook attributed the results to Apple being able to grow its relationships with the government and carriers in China. In the quarter itself, the company generated $5.733 billion in revenue from China.
We have reached out to Apple for comment and will update with any response provided.
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