China’s largest cell service provider, China Mobile, has confirmed that it is negotiating with Apple to officially bring the iPhone to its network. The carrier already supports some 15 million iPhone users, and an official deal could bring even more iPhone owners to its network.
News of the negotiations comes from the top at China Mobile thanks to confirmation from company chairman Xi Guohua, according to the BBC.
“We’ve been actively talking to Apple on how we can cooperate,” he said. “I can’t give you too many details, but I’d like to repeat that both sides do hope to boost our cooperation.”
China Mobile controls 67 percent of the country’s mobile phone market, and the world’s largest single cellphone carrier with about 655 million customers. Apple already has iPhone deals in place with China Unicom and China Telecom.
China Mobile hasn’t said how far along its negotiations with Apple have progressed, and Apple isn’t confirming that the talks are even happening.
Assuming China Unicom closes the deal, it could hold off until the next iPhone is available before officially offering it to customers. Rumors say the next iPhone model will support 4G LTE, just like the third generation iPad, and China Mobile is working on adding support for the wireless technology now.