After several years of speculation and rumors, it appears that Apple may have finally sealed the deal with China Mobile, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. As the world's largest carrier, China Mobile would open Apple up to a potential new customer base of over 700 million users.
WSJ says that the iPhone could be available through China Mobile as soon as later this month. The report mentions that it is likely we will see the announcement made on December 18 when China Mobile is scheduled to reveal the devices that will be running alongside its new 4G network.
Reports say China Mobile quietly began taking pre orders for the iPhone 5s and 5c just a few days ago through one of its subsidiary's websites. The listing has since been replaced with a reservation page saying more information will be coming soon.
Many have expected Apple to be announcing a deal with China Mobile for quite some time now, former chairman Wang Jianzhou said the company would offer iPhone packages about 2 years ago, and then more recently the iPhone was officially approved to run on China Mobile's network. Not to mention CEO Tim Cook being on record saying he anticipates China one day bumping from Apple's third largest market to its first.
Another interesting point is that China Mobile's direct competition in the region already offer iPhones, and have done quite well with them having sold more than 2 million iPhone 5s during opening weekend. Independent research predicts that Apple could sell an additional 20 million iPhones across the region in 2014 based on the deal, that would represent a 17% jump compared to numbers from the previous year.