Apple has announced that it has reached a deal with Chinese carrier China Mobile to make the iPhone officially available on the network starting January 17, 2014. Consumer demand for the iPhone has historically been extremely high in the Chinese market, but has dwindled in recent times thanks to the availability of affordable devices from rivals Samsung and local Chinese manufacturers. The official tie-in with China Mobile will see the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c officially made available for sale through the world’s largest network starting January 14, 2014.
There can be no denying that this partnership between Cupertino and Beijing represents a win-win situation for Apple and the technology loving Chinese consumers who want to get the latest Apple offering immediately. The “multi-year” deal will see Apple’s brand, and more importantly its two current iPhone models, thrust in front of more than 700 million subscribers through China Mobile’s customer-facing website and expansive collection of bricks and mortar retail outlets.
The deal comes after a long period of intense back and forth between the two companies and seems to come at the perfect time for both. China Mobile is currently in the process of distributing the word’s largest 4G network and will be offering high-speed mobile broadband access to consumers in over 16 cities by the end of the current calendar year.
The company’s impressive infrastructure also boasts more than 4.2 million Wi-Fi access points across the country as well as 1.2 multi-channel base stations that should ensure new iPhone customers in the country receive great service. Xi Guohua – China Mobile’s Chairman – had this to say about the deal:
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. We are delighted that iPhone on China Mobile will support our 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA networks, providing customers with high-speed mobile service.
The joint Cupertino and Beijing press release doesn’t provide any immediate information on inventory levels or pricing structures for the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c, and only announces that the details will be made available at “a later date”. The handsets will be available from Apple and China Mobile stores starting January 17th, 2014.