China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless operator, may finally offer coverage for Apple’s iPhone this year.
On Wednesday, news surfaced that an essential Chinese regulator has granted Apple the final license necessary for the company to introduce its iPhone on China Mobile Ltd.’s mobile network.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a formal announcement with China Mobile now seems more likely than ever.
The approval marks the imminent opening of a massive new market for Apple. Due to a proprietary network standard used by China Mobile, the carrier that boasts more than 700 million customers – or seven-times that of U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless – has been unable to officially sell the iPhone.
Chris Whitmore, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, estimates that Apple’s partnerships with China Mobile and NTT DoCoMo will result in at least 30 million additional iPhone sales next year.
On Tuesday, Apple confirmed a deal with NTT DoCoMo to introduce the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in Japan next week.