Yue Li, president of the worlds-largest wireless carrier China Mobile, has confirmed that the carrier has been in talks with Apple since 2009 to bring the iPhone to its network, but says the two are far apart on current negotiations.
In a statement during China Mobile’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Li said business-related issues more than technological setbacks are keeping Apple’s iPhone off the mobile giant’s network, reports SinaTech (via Unwired View).
“We look forward to working hand in hand with Apple,” Li said, adding that China Mobile has been in discussions with the iPhone maker since 2009, and was close to reaching a contract last year. That agreement obviously fell through.
Even though China Mobile is not an official carrier for the iPhone, it’d been reported that around 15 million of the network’s over 700 million users have iPhones. This, in spite of the fact that the device can’t reach 3G data speeds due to incompatibilities with the TD-SCDMA network used by China Mobile.
If, and when the two parties come to an agreement, the deal is expected by analysts to double Apple’s footprint in the Chinese smartphone market. It is estimated this could give a boost of around $45 to AAPL stock.
Apple has announced that Chinese sales of its latest handset, the iPhone 5, would begin on December 14th. China Unicom announced on Tuesday that pre-orders for the phone had reached over 100,000 in its first day of availability.