Is This China Mobile’s iPhone Launch Date?
It appears that Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) long-rumored deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) may soon be announced. A recently leaked image posted on China’s CTech website shows a China Mobile promotional poster that advertises a November 11 launch date for Apple’s iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
The poster also indicates that Apple’s new iPhones will be compatible with China Mobile’s 4G network. The TD-LTE versions of Apple’s iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C have already been licensed for use on the country’s 4G network, but China Mobile is still waiting on an operating license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Although other leaked images of China Mobile posters advertising iPhones have already emerged online, this is the first poster to include a specific launch date. According to Ctech, the poster also notes that the 4G network will have a top speed of 100Mbps, which is 10 to 20 times faster than the 3G network.
The November 11 launch date advertised on this poster also appears to confirm a prediction that Wedge Partners analyst Jun Zhang made earlier this month. “We believe China Mobile will launch four iPhone models in November, including 5S and 5C. The current procurement is very small, about 200K-250K units. We expect China Mobile will launch more [4G] smartphones in 2014,” wrote Zhang in a recent note to investors via Investor’s Business Daily.
China Mobile’s advertising leak isn’t the only sign that Apple is preparing to announce a deal with the world’s largest carrier. A recent job posting on Apple’s China website sought a manager who has experience with the TD-SCDMA network. The TD-SCDMA network is a 3G standard that is only used by China Mobile in the country.
Although China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier with over 750 million subscribers, it has never had a distribution deal with the Cupertino-based iPhone maker. Apple currently only has distribution deals with China’s two other major carriers, China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA). However, Apple is rumored to be holding an invitation-only event on October 22, according to All Things D’s sources. Although this event will likely center on the launch of a new iPad product, it might also include a China Mobile deal announcement as well.
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