China Mobile and Apple have announced on Monday an agreement that has been long anticipated to bring the Cupertino, California based Apple’s iPhone to the biggest phone company in the world.
The deal could help increase the sale of the iPhone in a market that has fierce competition for Apple.
The iPhone is already available in China via two carriers that are much smaller but the new deal with China Mobile will give Apple a much bigger network and better marketing power.
Chinese mobile device customers like the iPhone but lower-prices phones have passed the Apple device in sales. Amongst them are phones from Samsung and other local Chinese brands.
Both the iPhone 5S and 5C will be available in China Mobile and Apple stores starting on January 17. China Mobile account holders can register for the new phones staring this Wednesday.
No pricing or terms regarding the agreement between the two companies were released.
The new deal is just a month before the Lunar New Year holiday in China at the end of January, a big season for gift buying. That will give a big boost to the Apple market share in the world’s largest mobile device market.
The forecast for increased sales of the iPhone from the new deal vary widely. Some analysts believe the increase could be from 10 million to as high as 40 million.
One key issue is if the agreement with China Mobile leads to more sales or just prompts the existing users to move to China Mobile.
The Apple smartphone will help the huge Chinese mobile phone network promote its new fourth generation network that was given government approval earlier this month. However, analysts have said that Apple needed its agreement with China Mobile more than the Chinese company did.
Because of that, China Mobile is thought to have had the leverage during negotiations over the splitting of costs, which for an iPhone that is high priced usually includes the subsidizing of sales of handsets.
Tough competition will be faced by the iPhone from smartphones that are much cheaper running on Android software by Google. Collectively, the Android phones are far and away outselling the iPhone from Apple.
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