In what has to be seen as one of the biggest tech stories of the year, it's finally been announced that Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available on China Mobile, the largest cell phone carrier in the world, beginning on January 17, 2014. Both devices will support the China Mobile TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA cellular networks. Interested customers can pre-register for a device beginning December 25th.
“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the release.
It'll definitely be interesting to see what this does for iPhone worldwide marketshare, as China Mobile has 760 million customers.
This morning, Ncell, a subsidiary of cellular giant TeliaSonera, announced that 3G service is now available at the top of Mount Everest. While spotty, basic, 2G service was available before, thanks to an earlier network from China Mobile. Now people can make video calls, surf the web and post to Twitter from one of the most remote locations on Earth. This morning, the highest ever video call was placed from the Everest base camp. According to the spokesperson, "This is a great milestone for mobile communications as the 3G high speed internet will bring faster, more affordable telecommunication services from the world's tallest mountain."
Of course, this is more for publicity than anything else. There are still plenty of places with a significant population that still don't have coverage that would benefit from that kind of effort. Still, TeliaSonera did promise up to $100 Million to help reach the rest of the Himalayan nation's population, so hopefully this is a first step in a bigger effort.
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