China Mobile has announced it will introduce a new brand for mobile services on December 18th, raising hopes for those who believe the carrier will begin offering Apple’s iPhone on its network on that day.
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.
Apple received the final license necessary for the iPhone to run on China Mobile’s network back in September.
“A deal with China Mobile would give Apple a big boost in the China market as the largest local carrier has the most wealthy subscriber base. I estimate that among China Mobile’s more than 700 million mobile subscribers, at least 10% or 70 million wealthier ones would be potential customers for iPhones,” Hong Kong-based Mizuho Securities analyst Marvin Lo said.
Lo says China is a very attractive market to handset makers as smartphone penetration is still less than 50% in the country.
While China Mobile executives have stated the iPhone would be offered only after the company introduces its 4G platform, The Chinese government is reportedly ready to begin issuing 4G licenses as early as next week.