China Mobile already has 42M iPhone users before the Deal made with Apple

There were already 42M iPhones in use on China Mobile‘s network even before Apple’s anticipated deal with the carrier to offer the handset officially, claims Chinese site SinaTech.

Up to now, China Mobile iPhone users in the network has reached 42 million, which has exceeded the U.S. AT & T and Verizon combined sales of the two operators.

42 million is a huge number, especially when you consider that none of them were subsidised: all had to have been purchased at full price. If true, you can see why the potential for subsidised handsets in China is massive.

Of course, it’s as yet an unsupported claim, but it’s not impossible when you consider that the figure is for all generations of iPhone. All those iPhone 3Gs had to go somewhere.

Chinese regulators signed-off on the final licence needed to sell the iPhone in the country officially last week, with analysts estimating that the Chinese and Japanese deals combined could be worth an extra 38M sales to Apple. As yet, however, there has been no official word on an agreement between Apple and China

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