Report: Apple set to ship the iPhone 5C to China Mobile

September 6, 2013: 6:47 PM ET

It would be the biggest iPhone deal ever, seven times larger than the one with Verizon.

400199641332FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) is preparing to ship its as-yet-unannounced mid-range iPhone to China Mobile (CHL), the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter."

If the two companies have indeed signed a contract -- something the Journal's sources could not confirm -- it would be the biggest carrier agreement Apple has ever struck.

China Mobile is the world's largest phone company, with 740 million mobile subscribers. That's about seven times more than the subscriber base of Verizon (VZ), the largest U.S. carrier.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Apple has also reached an agreement with NTT DoCoMo (DCM), Japan's largest carrier with 60 million mobile subscribers.

Apple has scheduled a special event for Tuesday, Sept. 10, where it is widely expected to unveil two new iPhones: a so-called iPhone 5S, offering incremental improvements over last year's model, and the lower-cost iPhone 5C that the company is reportedly shipping to China Mobile.

But the announcement of two huge carrier deals and the release of iOS 7 -- the first major redesign of the company's mobile system software since the original iPhone -- could be just as important for Apple as it battles Samsung and Google's (GOOG) Android for control of the global smartphone market.

UPDATE:  KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is telling clients that China Mobile may delay deployment of the new iPhones until the company has rolled out more of its fourth generation TDD-LTE network. According to AppleInsider, that could push the carrier's iPhone 5C launch into November.

  • How the iPhone conquered Japan

    Despite its more-or-less mundane technology, Apple's device won over women.

    By Michael Fitzpatrick, contributor

    FORTUNE -- The Japanese were using their cellphones to watch TV, navigate with GPS, download music, make movies, pay bills, and check their emails years before American consumers were doing the same. Japan also had touchscreen phones eight years earlier than iPhone -- the Pioneer J-PE01. And yet it is no surprise that Apple's iPhone was the best-selling MORE

    May 6, 2013 12:05 PM ET
  • Death of cash? Maybe, but not quite yet in Japan

    Japan's e-wallet infrastructure is eight years old, but the technology has yet to really take off.

    By Michael Fitzpatrick

    FORTUNE -- How do you persuade a nation that is deeply in love with cash -- and even looks askance at credit cards -- to pay for goods and services with the swipe of a phone? Unfortunately for Japan's dawdling economy and the credit card firms who hope to thrust such mobile MORE

    Feb 20, 2013 8:44 AM ET
  • Lady Gaga, Darth Vader hawk Android in Japan

    Big names are getting behind high profile Android roll outs in Japan.

    In the U.S., we're lucky to get  a little green robot.  In Japan, Android phones are advertised by big names such as Lady Gaga, who is backing Sharp's IS03 on KDDI au.  The ISO3 has the same display as Apple's iPhone 4 with an extra LCD below it.

    The campaign follows NTT DoCoMo's entertaining Darth Vader campaign for the Samsung Galaxy S:

    Vader has been MORE

    - Nov 29, 2010 12:22 PM ET
  • Report: iPhone headed for joint launch in Japan and Korea

    With less than three weeks to go before Steve Jobs' June 9 keynote address, Apple may be close to a deal that would add two of Asia's hottest cellphone carriers to its growing list of international partners.

    The Telecoms Korea news service reported late last week that Apple (AAPL) is planning a special joint release of the next-generation iPhone with two carriers whose names are synonymous with 3G: Japan's NTT DoCoMo MORE

    - May 20, 2008 7:32 AM ET
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by VIP.