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Apple Names Release Date for China Mobile iPhone

By Craig Galbraith
December 23, 2013 - News

**Editor's Note: Click here for our list of November's hottest selling smartphones to see how the iPhone fared against the competition.**

After years of speculation, Apple and China Mobile have finally struck a deal for the iPhone.

China Mobile customers will be able to get their hands on the iPhone 5s and 5c at the carrier's and Apple retail stores in that Asian nation beginning Jan. 17, 2014. Pre-registration on China Mobile's website will begin Dec. 25.

China Mobile is the world's largest wireless network, with more than 760 million subscribers. That's more than triple the number of customers as Verizon and AT&T combined.

“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 Tim Cook, Apple CEO. “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."

China Mobile is rolling out the world’s largest 4G network, should be available to customers in 16 of the country's largest cities by the end of 2013. By the end of 2014, China Mobile plans to complete the rollout of more than 500,000 4G base stations, which will cover more than 340 cities with 4G service.

No pricing details have been released yet.

A pair of China Mobile's smaller competitors have offered the iPhone for a while now, but this is obviously a huge deal for Apple. While a smaller percentage of customers in China can afford high-end devices, the Silicon Valley giant is sure to rake in a huge profit from this new deal and make some gains on its Asian competitors that dominate the Chinese market.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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