China Mobile, Apple are positive on possible deal

HONG KONG Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:42am EDT

HONG KONG Aug 15 (Reuters) - China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest mobile carrier by subscribers, said its talks with Apple Inc have been progressing smoothly and both sides are positive about reaching a possible agreement, Chairman Xi Guohua said on Thursday.

"Both sides sounded keen (during recent talks)," Xi told a news conference after announcing the company's first-half results.

With Apple expected to unveil its next iPhone next month and China Mobile expected to get a 4G licence this year, the time appears ripe for the two giants to finalise a deal, analysts said.

During the conference, CFO Xue Taohai also said the carrier spent 14.2 billion yuan ($2.32 billion) in handset subsidies in the first half, up 2.2 billion yuan from the same period a year ago.

($1 = 6.1196 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Yimou Lee and Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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