Apple (AAPL) and China Mobile have finally struck a deal that gives the iPhone maker access to the world’s largest cellular carrier customer base, the WSJ reported on Thursday, citing a source familiar with the matter.
The rollout of iPhones on the Chinese carrier’s vast network, which boasts over 740 million subscribers, is expected to start later this month. Specifically, the kickoff could happen at a December 18th event taking place in the southern city of Guangzhou where China Mobile is expected to debut its superfast 4G network, according to two people familiar with the carrier’s plans, the newspaper reported.
While neither side has confirmed the long-waited agreement just yet, Keith Fitz-Gerald, chief investment strategist at Money Map Press, told CNBC that “there are more users just on China Mobile alone than there are internet users in many other countries.”
“I think this deal could potentially add $1.50, maybe even $2 per share in terms of earnings if the deal goes forward as we understand it,” he added, highlighting the scale of the potential deal.
Meanwhile, the Journal notes that the deal with China Mobile “would give Apple access to a subscriber base that is seven times the size of Verizon Wireless, the U.S.’s largest carrier”.
The news comes a day after China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it will award China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, the country’s three major carriers, TD-LTE licenses to provide the superfast 4G service to customers. China Mobile said in 2011 that Apple agreed to make an iPhone for its customers once it shifted to 4G.