Apple has finally launching its iPhone on the vast network of China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier.
China has been a problem for Apple, where it trails Samsung and local handset makers.
It should get a short-term sales jolt from the deal which has taken five years to negotiate. It took that long because Apple and China Mobile could not agree a revenue-sharing deal on handset sales.
China Mobile will subsidise iPhones so their customers pay less with a contract.
Shanghai-based technology expert Michael Clendenin said it will help Apple but not a massive amount: “Any time Apple is involved in a deal like this that has taken so long to iron out, there’s going to be an undue high level of optimism around the deal. It’s going to help, there’s no doubt. The bottom line is that it’s going to help Apple to sell more phones in China at a time when Apple is actually starting to lose some of its allure globally in terms of their ability to sell a lot of phones. So there’s no doubt that it’s good for them.”
State-owned China Mobile is by far the biggest carrier in the country with upwards of three quarter of a billion subscribers.
Rivals China Telecom and China Unicom have slashed their iPhone prices to compete and are offered a range of cut-price deals on contracts.
Analysts said Apple is hoping for a bigger sales boost later this year when it is expected to release its next model – the iPhone 6 – particularly if it gives China Mobile initial exclusive first rights to that.