Following rumors and reports that China Mobile would finally start selling Apple's iPhone, it's official, although without any press release or fanfare. The world's largest cell service provider simply added the iPhone to its website with the promise that pre-orders would start on the 12th.
So far the carrier isn't offering any other details about its iPhone plans, which means customers will have to pre-order without knowing what their service plan will cost.
When contacted by the Wall Street Journal, the company said, "Customers can begin to preorder for our new 4G services from December 12 through the company's website and some dedicated branches in Shanghai. But we will only start providing commercial 4G services after December 18."
China Mobile will be hosting a launch event on December 18 for its new 4G network. That event follows last week's official approval for the new system from the Chinese government. Licenses for TD-LTE network operation was granted to China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, which opened the door for the faster wireless data speeds the iPhone supports.
Bringing China Mobile into the iPhone family is good news for Apple since it opens up a new potential customer base that wasn't available before. That customer base also happens to be the largest in the world with over 740 million subscribers -- more than the population of the United States.
The projected boost to iPhone sales is an extra 20 million activations in 2014, 30 million in 2015, and even more in the coming years.