A China Mobile subsidiary in Suzhou recently opened up reservations for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C orders in one of the first concrete signs that Apple is about to launch its popular smartphone on the world’s largest wireless carrier. The reservation webpage popped up as an advertisement on China Mobile’s Suzhou Life Network web portal, which serves up local news and entertainment for customers on the network.
The page isn’t a direct pre-order system but instead allows customers interested in Apple’s latest handsets to schedule an “appointment,” or save a spot in line to purchase the device when they eventually roll out. Currently over 1,100 people have already signed up. According to the fine print, the reservation page is only open to China Mobile users in Suzhou, a major city of 5.5 people located in Chinas Jiangsu Province. The site stipulates order priority for 4G iPhones will be given to those who sign up through the reservation system but doesn’t indicate when either the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C will be available to buy. Instead users are instructed to keep an eye on the Suzhou Life Network page or follow the network on microblogging service Sina Weibo for the latest information.
A previous report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency cited industry insiders are saying both iPhone models were looking at a December 18 launch date, the same day China Mobile is slated to activate its 4G network. Rumors of the China Mobile and Apple deal have been circulating for quite some time now, dating back to the original iPhone’s debut in 2007. Aside from the Xinhua report, an Apple job posting from before revealed that the company was looking for an engineer with expertise in China Mobile’s unique TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA networks, prompting speculation of a near future release.
For those of you who didn’t know, China Mobile is the largest cellular carrier in the world with roughly 740 million subscribers spread across the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and overseas.
Source: Suzhou Life Network via Fortune