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China Mobile to Boost Phone Subsidies in 2014 As It Anticipates iPhone Deal

China Mobile to Boost Phone Subsidies in 2014 As It Anticipates iPhone Deal

China Mobile will increase its spending on device subsidies in 2014 in an attempt to boost smartphone sales and entice customers to try its new high-speed wireless network.

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Bloomberg:

China Mobile plans to sell as many as 220 million smartphones next year, compared with 155 million this year, Chairman Xi Guohua said today in Guangzhou, according to remarks posted on the carrier’s official microblog account. The carrier has yet to reach agreement with Apple Inc. (AAPL) to offer the iPhone, the official China Daily newspaper reported today, citing Xi.

Device subsidies will increase from the 27 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) spent this year, Xi said. The carrier will use the increased subsidies in an attempt to push its 759 million strong subscriber base to higher-priced voice and data plans on the faster network.

“This 4G service creates a new future,” Chief Executive Officer Li Yue told the developers’ conference in Guangzhou. “It will promote the popularization of a variety of application innovations.”

China Mobile received approval on December 4 for its 4G network. The company will market the new, faster service under the name “And.”

The China Daily quoted Xi as saying China Mobile hopes to have an agreement with Apple “soon.”

While Apple is widely reported as close to making a deal with the carrier, the world’s largest, no official announcement of a pact has been made.

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