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China Mobile lures 5 million new iPhone users with Wi-Fi, rebates

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:34PM EST

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China Mobile has yet to convince Apple to partner on an iPhone that supports its proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G network, but that hasn’t stopped the carrier from attracting customers to the device. In fact, China Mobile added 5 million new iPhone users in just four months, and it now serves a total of 9.5 million iPhone users, Bloomberg said. Each of those customers can use text, voice and 2G data, and all of the iPhone models it sells are unsubsidized. That may sound like a turnoff, but China Mobile has increased its iPhone user base by building out a nationwide Wi-Fi network to make up for its 3G shortcomings, and the carrier is also offering rebates worth as much as $440. The carrier plans to add an additional 1 million hotspots throughout China during the next three years, too. China Unicom has been an exclusive iPhone partner in China since 2005 and while it has less 3G subscribers than China Mobile, it is able to offer a 3G-capable iPhone because it operates a WCDMA 3G network.