China Mobile (Hong Kong)
Today, Apple officially kicked off their alliance with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier with almost 800 million subscribers. While mainstream media widely covered the launch day from Beijing, complete with pictures of Tim Cook and China Mobile executives, they missed some of the more interesting details - details important to Apple shareholders and those of us with iPhones that use China Mobile’s network.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook)
China Mobile and Apple negotiated for years over the terms of this agreement - longer than any other major carrier. There were always rumors regarding the various sticking points, but now that China Mobile is an officially supported iPhone carrier, we have some answers.
Carriers around the world have lived in fear of losing ownership of the relationship with their customers and becoming simply commodity providers of bandwidth. They’ve tried time and time again to develop their own app stores, sell content to their subscribers and become payment platforms. China Mobile was actually one of the more successful carriers at this strategy.
Unfortunately for carriers, today’s Apple-China Mobile launch was the final nail in the coffin for the mobile carrier as anything other than a commodity provider of bandwidth.
If you recall, it was widely reported that a major sticking point between Apple and China Mobile was China Mobile’s insistence on offering on including its own app store on iPhones it sold. Fortunately for consumers, there’s been no sign of China Mobile’s app store on China Mobile-edition iPhones. The battle that started with the original iPhone and AT&T and ended today. Apple won the war.
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