Apple finally launches iPhone to China Mobile’s 760m subscribers

Apple and China Mobile’s recently signed partnership has finally born fruit with Tim Cook in attendance as the first iPhone 5S models on the network went on sale.

Related: China Mobile underwhelmed by Apple iPhone 5S and 5C preorders

The Apple CEO tweeted a picture of the launch at a China Mobile retail location in Beijing where he was surrounded by the media and China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua, who both handed out the expensive pieces of kit to consumers – some of which were autographed by the two.

As for the prices, Phoenix Tech reports that an iPhone 5S with a 16GB memory is available for free as long as subscribers sign up for a 24-month plan costing CNY588 [£59] each month.

For those that don’t mind paying for the handset, the same version will cost CNY3,788 [£380] on a 24-month contract that comes in at just CNY188 [£19] per month. Without a contract the iPhone 5S sets back consumers CNY5,288 [£531].

Chinese consumers have been able to get their hands on the iPhone 5S for some months on both China Unicom and China Telecom. In comparison, an iPhone 5S costs CNY5,499 [£552] on China Unicom with the device available for free when part of a 30-month contract costing CNY386 [£39] per month. China Telecom, meanwhile, offers the device for free as part of a 24-month deal that costs CNY386 [£39] per month.

Apple and China Mobile finalised a landmark deal towards the end of last month that gave the technology giant access to the firm’s subscriber based of some 760 million people.

It means that Apple has access to over half of the world’s largest smartphone market that totalled 1.2 billion users at the last check and it’s hoped the deal will kick Apple into action in a market it has traditionally struggled in.

Related: Apple and 4G push IDC to raise China smartphone forecast

Forrester Research analysts think the deal will be a boon for Apple and boost sales of the device by some 15 million devices with Cantor Fitzgerald even more confident by predicting it will shift 24 million iPhones.

Image Credit: Twitter (Tim Cook)