The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple and China Mobile have finally reached agreement on a long-awaited deal that will see the world’s largest wireless carrier offering the iPhone later this month.
China Mobile, which has more than 700 million subscribers, is expected to begin selling the iPhone around December 18 following a China Mobile conference in Guangzhou where the company is also expected to debut its 4G network. Earlier today, the Chinese government finally granted TD-LTE licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, the country’s three major carriers.
The deal with China Mobile, one of the few remaining major carriers who didn’t offer the iPhone, will most likely bring a huge bump in sales to Apple. The deal will give Apple access to a subscriber base that is seven times the size of Verizon Wireless.
China’s other major carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom, both already offer the iPhone on their 3G networks.
Apple and China Mobile have reportedly been in talks for years, with Apple CEO Tim Cook making a trip to China back in July to meet with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua.
News of a deal has widely been expected since September, after the release of the iPhone 5s and 5c, which were the first iPhones to support China Mobile’s TD-LTE network. Apple received a final license needed to operate on China Mobile’s network that same month.