Apple and China Mobile agree distribution deal
December 23, 2013 // 3:30 p.m.
Apple has finally signed a distribution deal with China's biggest telecoms provide, China Mobile.
The deal will finally enable Chinese users to buy iPhones that are compatible with the country's 3G and upcoming 4G services. Although there are already some 45 million iPhones on the network, they are only able to access it at 2G speeds due to the 3G standards being incompatible.
China Mobile has over 750 million customers - a number which dwarfs that of any other network worldwide - which is nearly 60% of the Chinese market.
Analysts are estimating the deal could mean an extra 12 million iPhones being sold in China making for an extra US$10billion in revenue.
The deal is also being seen as key to Apple combating the might of local companies Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE as well as Samsung, all of whom have had a presence in the country for some time.
Both Apple CEO Tim Cook and China Mobile's Chairman, Xi Guohua, were understandably delighted with the deal.
"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."
Xi Guohua added, "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".
There isn't yet any word on pricing for the phones or on exactly when they'll arrive.