Apple and China Mobile just announced that they’ve reached an agreement that will see the iPhone 5s and 5c launch on the China Mobile’s 4G and 3G networks early next year.
Pre-registration is supposed to begin on December 25, with phones actually available on January 17 of next year.
“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the release.
China Mobile says it has more than 760 million customers. Apple has been in talks with the network since 2011, and The Wall Street Journalreported earlier this month that a deal had been reached.
According to a recent report from Canalys, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan collectively account for 39 percent of the global smartphone market, with Apple ranking fifth in the region’s smartphone sales. R.W. Baird analyst William Power recently predicted that a deal could lead to 12.5 million to 30 million more iPhone sales.
Another sign that Apple is working to expand in China was this fall’s announcement that the iPad Air would be available in the country on launch day for the first time.
The release says that the deal will “give a big boost to the development of China’s homegrown 4G/TD-LTE technology,” and that more details about pricing will be released at a later date.