China Mobile will start taking iPhone preorders on December 12th in the country, according to an ad found by The Wall Street Journal on the carrier’s website. While a spokesperson for China Mobile did not confirm the date, a China Mobile representative said that iPhone preorders will indeed begin on Thursday. “Customers can begin to preorder for our new 4G services from December 12 through the company’s website and some dedicated branches in Shanghai,” the operator said. “But we will only start providing commercial 4G services after December 18.” An attempt to preorder the iPhone 5s on Monday was not successful.
The Journal has previously reported that Apple and China Mobile have finally come to terms regarding an iPhone launch in the region. The iPhone maker already has an official presence in China, where interested buyers can purchased the iOS smartphone either from Apple stores, or from other Chinese mobile operators including China Unicom and China Telecom. However, with its more than 740 million subscribers, China Mobile is the largest carrier in the world, and therefore a very interesting target for Apple. According to some reports, China Mobile already has over 42 million iPhones on its network, despite not having sold any iPhone models in its own stores.
Initially, China Mobile will offer its new 4G network in various markets including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjian, Shenzhen and Nanjing, while other cities in China will get 4G support in the future.
A screenshot showing China Mobile iPhone preorder ad follows below.