Apple, China Mobile deal poses threat to Android
It's official, finally. Apple and China Mobile have inked a deal that will see the world's biggest wireless carrier sell the latest iPhones to its 760 million-plus subscribers.
For the world's largest technology company, the deal could result in adding up to $10 billion to its annual revenue. For China Mobile, adding the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to its lineup of smartphones will result in drawing at least 15-20 million iPhone subscribers in 2014.
For Google and Android, the deal doesn't augur well because so long China Mobile was offering low-cost Android smartphones to its subscribers and now Android's got a new rival, albeit an expensive one.
Apple and China Mobile said in a joint statement that iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available across the carrier's stores in China from Jan. 17, 2014. iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c "both offer more 4G LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world" and the collaboration between the two companies "will give a big boost to the development of China's homegrown 4G/TD-LTE technology,"the companies said in a joint statement.
Talks of Apple and China Mobile inking the deal have been going on for several months, but it got delayed because China Mobile didn't have the necessary license to operate 4G network. Earlier this month, the Chinese government granted the same to three state-owned operators, including China Mobile.
"Apple's iPhone is very much loved by millions of customers around the world. We know there are many China Mobile customers and potential new customers who are anxiously awaiting the incredible combination of iPhone on China Mobile's leading network. We are delighted that iPhone on China Mobile will support our 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA networks, providing customers with high-speed mobile service," said China Mobile Chairman, Xi Guohua.
"Apple has enormous respect for China Mobile and we are excited to begin working together. China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world's largest network," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group, and we can't think of a better way to welcome in the Chinese New Year than getting an iPhone into the hands of every China Mobile customer who wants one."
Pre-registration for the iPhones from China Mobile's official website (www.10086.cn) and customer service hotline "10086" will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013.
The prices of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have not yet been revealed but they won't be cheap because on Apple's official China site, iPhone 5s retails for around $870 while iPhone 5c retails for slightly above $700, because of tax and regulatory issues.
News of the deal made Apple shares jump 3.57 percent to $568.65 during pre-market hours on Monday. The company's shares closed 0.84 percent up at $549.02 on Friday on the Nasdaq.