HONG KONG Dec 5 China Mobile Ltd, the
country's largest mobile operator, has signed a long-awaited
deal with Apple Inc to offer iPhones on its network,
the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing an
anonymous source familiar with the matter.
The news comes a day after China's Ministry of Industry and
Information Technology issued 4G licenses to China Mobile, China
Unicom and China Telecom in another widely
The rollout of iPhones by the world's largest mobile carrier
by users, with more than 700 million subscribers, is expected to
start around the time of a Dec. 18 China Mobile conference in
the southern city of Guangzhou, according to two people familiar
with the carrier's plans, the newspaper reported.
Officials with Apple and China Mobile declined to comment.
China Mobile is one of the world's last major carriers that
does not offer the iPhone. The company has trailed behind its
smaller rivals in attracting users to its home-grown 3G standard
due to its poorer network service.
At 0200 GMT, China Mobile shares in Hong Kong were up 1
percent, while smaller rivals China Unicom was up 1.3 percent
and China Telecom inched up 0.4 percent.