China Mobile Ltd. (941), the world’s largest phone company by users, said pre-orders for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone have reached about 1 million units ahead of sales in the carrier’s outlets that start at the end of this week.
China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua and Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook met in Beijing today and the companies have entered into a multiyear agreement with “broad potential” for future cooperation, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement today. Details of the agreement weren’t disclosed and Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu didn’t respond to calls and an e-mail.
China Mobile and Apple reached a distribution agreement for the iPhone last month after six years of negotiations as both seek to stem declining share in the market of 1.2 billion wireless subscribers. The carrier began taking pre-orders for the iPhone online from Dec. 25 and in-store sales begin Jan. 17.
China Mobile released details on its iPhone packages today that show the carrier will offer a free Apple mobile only with its most expensive data plan. China Mobile users must commit to a two-year contract with a monthly minimum of 588 yuan ($97) to be eligible for a fully subsidized iPhone, the carrier said.
The iPhone without a contract costs 5,288 yuan, it said. China Mobile users on a two-year contract who pay 188 yuan a month can get the iPhone at a reduced price of 3,788 yuan, according to the statement.
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