Apple reaches deal to bring iPhone to China Mobile

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Apple says it has reached a deal to bring the iPhone to China Mobile, the world's biggest phone carrier.

The deal ends a lengthy courtship and could boost sales of the iPhone in China. The iPhone, once hugely popular in China, has been eclipsed by the rise of lower-priced rival smartphones from Samsung and Chinese companies entered the market.

The iPhone 5S and 5C will go on sale in Apple stores and China Mobil stores beginning Friday, Jan. 17. China Mobil customers can register for phones starting Wednesday Dec. 25.

The companies didn't announce pricing or the terms of the agreement.

The iPhone, while popular around the world, has faced tough competition in recent years from cheaper smartphones running Google's Android software. Collectively, Android phones far outsell Apple's iPhone.

Analysts speculate that Apple could sell another 10 million to 40 million more phones if it reached a deal with China Mobile. Some 50 million iPhones have been sold in China in the past 2 1/2 years, according to analyst estimates.

China Mobile is owned by the Chinese government, and has more than 750 million mobile accounts. However, a survey by Bernstein Research said some China Mobile consumers use smaller carriers for data service. Apple already has agreements with China Telecom Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd., which have about 455 million mobile accounts.

China Mobile wants to have the world's largest 4G network, and the new iPhones might help it win over customers. The company received approval to start operating the faster network earlier this month and plans to have 4G services available in 16 cities by the end of 2013. It aims to provide coverage for 340 cities by the end of 2014.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

SF supervisor pushes for a reparations plan for black residents

Supervisor Shamann Walton announced Friday he wants The City to come up… Continue reading

1 killed, another injured in avalanche near Lake Tahoe, officials say

One person was killed and another was seriously injured when an avalanche… Continue reading

SF Pride membership votes to ban Google from parade. Will the board listen?

San Francisco Pride’s membership voted Wednesday night to kick Google out of… Continue reading

SF Zoo Koala naming contest to raise money for Australian wildlife

A naming contest for a koala at the San Francisco Zoo aims… Continue reading

Helgi Tomasson kicks off 35th season with SF Ballet

Veterans Tan, Luiz sizzle in show of new, classic dances

Most Read