The WSJ is reporting that Apple and China Mobile have finally struck a deal that would bring the iPhone to the largest mobile carrier in the world. With over 700 million potential new customers at stake, an agreement has been believed to be in the works for some time now.
A deal with China Mobile would give Apple access to a subscriber base that is seven times the size of Verizon Wireless, the U.S.’s largest carrier. Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple’s third biggest market after the U.S. and Europe in terms of revenue.
Tim Cook visited with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua back in July of this year further solidifying the often rumored partnership of the two power-houses. The iPhone 5S & 5C are the first iPhones to support China’s TD-LTE standard. As a result, it was expected that their launch in September would accompany a simultaneous release on the biggest of the Chinese mobile carriers. Furthermore, earlier today the Chinese government granted TD-LTE licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. China Mobile’s will launch its 4G network on December 18, and the iPhone release is expected to coincide with this event.