Apple will gain access to the world's largest mobile market in a deal signed late Wednesday with China Mobile to sell iPhones on its network, according to news reports.
The long-awaited deal could bring Apple as many as 700 million subscribers — seven times larger than that of Verizon Wireless, the biggest carrier in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal
Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple's third-largest market in terms of revenue, following the United States and Europe.
Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., is expected to begin offering iPhones later this month, sources told the Journal. China Mobile, which has been in talks with Apple for several years, is among the world's largest carriers that does not offer the iPhone.
According to the Journal, China Mobile plans to introduce its fourth-generation, or 4G, mobile network on Dec. 18 at a conference in Guangzhou. The company would begin selling iPhones afterward.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told the Journal on Wednesday that China Mobile and several smaller companies received licenses to operate the higher-speed mobile networks.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment to the Journal.
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