China Mobile, the world's biggest wireless operator, said Thursday it is
still negotiating with US technology giant Apple over offering iPhones
on its huge network and that a deal has yet to be reached.
Street Journal quoted unnamed sources as saying that the two companies
have inked an agreement to add iPhones to the colossal telecom firm's
roster of compatible devices later this month.
But China Mobile which has more than 700 million subscribers denied the report.
between China Mobile and Apple on cooperation are still going on and we
currently do not have anything to announce," the carrier's spokeswoman
Rainie Lei told AFP.
No further information was provided.
Mobile has a unique 3G standard of its own that is not compatible with
any existing iPhone models, although the Californian giant's handsets
can be used on other networks in China.
Negotiations between Apple
and China Mobile have been going on for years, with one key hurdle
reportedly being the US firm's demand for sales volume guarantees.
A deal would be a boon for Apple, which has seen its global market share slip and has made the Chinese market a priority.
China Mobile also is keen to sell iPhones to strengthen its edge over smaller rivals China Unicom and China Telecom.
Chinese government on Wednesday granted the three operators, all
state-owned, licences to offer services on the faster and better quality
4G network, expected to usher in a new era of competition between
mobile phone makers.
China Mobile's shares rose 0.5 percent to close at HK$84.7 ($11) in Hong Kong on Thursday.