As early as January 2013 we noted that Apple was preparing a lower cost iPhone when it wasn't a popular idea and later that month we were one of the first to report on China Mobile admitting to a confidentiality agreement with Apple. Reports ran wild this fall with false reports that the deal was done and we reported the contrary. The Soap Opera continued weekly until today. Apple has officially announced that China Mobile will begin selling the iPhone in China on January 17, 2014.
The deal's completion will greatly expand Apple's reach in the world's most populous country and provide access to a previously untapped revenue stream.
CNN is reporting that "Even before the deal was struck, analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald estimated that 35 million to 40 million iPhones were in use on China Mobile's network. Cantor estimates that Apple could sell an additional 20 to 24 million iPhones to China Mobile over the first calendar year of a deal.
Apple's Press Release
China Mobile is the world's largest carrier by subscribers, with around 700 million users -- or more than twice the population of the United States. Apple executives have long courted the mobile carrier, and analysts have deemed the partnership a must-have for Apple as it seeks to gain devoted fans among China's rapidly growing middle class."