The world’s biggest wireless carrier, China Mobile, will allegedly launch the iPhone on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, the Wall Street Journal has learned. Although we are still waiting for confirmation of this, the company said that it will introduce a new brand for its fourth-generation mobile service.
The launch is expected during the company’s 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou, according to China Mobile’s website. An executive at the world’s largest mobile operator has said it is ready to start fourth-generation mobile services, though China has yet to issue 4G licenses.
Meanwhile, Apple has received the necessary approval from Chinese officials to run the iPhone on China Mobile’s TD-LTE network. Bloomberg has heard that Apple will need to be more flexible to ink a deal with China Mobile; it may, for instance, be forced to concede App Store revenue.
Apple and China Mobile started negotiations years ago, but the deal didn’t materialize because of network incompatibility. This year, however, China Mobile is launching its 4G network and it seems like the puzzle’s missing pieces have been found and everything is set for a highly anticipated launch.
China Mobile’s 700-million-strong subscriber base represents a great opportunity for Apple to conquer the local market. Analysts put their expectations high, and among them Hong Kong-based Mizuho Securities analyst Marvin Lo, cited by the Wall Street Journal, says he expects about 10%, or 70 million, to be potential customers for iPhones.