Apple announced on Sunday that it has struck a deal with China Mobile to offer the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C on the world's largest cell service network. The deal isn't any surprise, but this marks the first official announcement from Apple and the first time we've heard an actual launch date.
Both iPhone models will be in Apple and China Mobile's retail stores come January 17, and customers hoping to be among the first to get their hands on the combination smartphone and media player can pre-order starting on December 25.
China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua confirmed both iPhones will support his company's 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA which means customers won't have to worry about limited wireless data support. Currently, the carrier has 1.2 million 2G/GSM, 3G/TD-SCDMA, 4G/TD-LTE base stations as well as more than 4.2 million Wi-Fi access points throughout China, and plans to have more than 500,000 4G base stations bu the end of 2014.
Rumors saying Apple and China Mobile were working on a deal have been circulating for some time, and the carrier essentially confirmed a deal was in place when it added the iPhone to its website several days ago.
For Apple, the deal means the iPhone is officially available on the single largest cell service network in the world. With more than 760 million customers, China Mobile's user base is larger than the population of almost every country.
Information on service contract pricing isn't available yet.