Reports that China Mobile (SEHK:0941), the world’s largest cell phone carrier by number of customers and market capitalization, reached a deal with Apple (NYSE: AAPL) were confirmed as China Mobile announced that they will taking preorders for the iPhone 4S, reported the Wall Street Journal, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.

China Mobile has been losing subscribers for years to its main competitors China Telecom and China Unicom. The company controls 70% of the Chinese mobile market, has major operations in Pakistan and has recently bid in auctions for one of the two newly opened mobile licenses in Myanmar.

This agreement has been expected by analysts for several years, however earlier attempts at negotiation between Apple and China Mobile proved unsuccessful. Both companies are expected to benefit greatly from this deal, giving Apple access to over China Mobile’s 700 million customers and laying a foundation for the dominance of both companies in the mobile market of the world’s second largest economy.

Users of China Mobile can expect to receive their iPhones by December 18th, according to sources familiar to the carrier’s plans, reported the newspaper. Both Apple and China Mobile declined to comment.

Shares of China Mobile in Hong Kong were up 1% following the announcement, while its main rivals China Unicom were up 1.3 percent and China Telecom inched up 0.4 percent.

About Kate Wong

Kate previously worked in asset management for a major bank headquartered in Beijing and now manages her own venture capital fund. She also works as a freelance consultant to start-up companies in mainland China and Hong Kong.
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