By Chris O'Brien
This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
6:30 AM PST, December 5, 2013
Apple may have finalized a deal with China Mobile, that nation's largest carrier, to sell the iPhone.
Such a deal would give Apple access to China Mobile's 700 million customers for the first time. Though analysts have been predicting such a deal was close for months now, it's still expected to give a major boost to Apple in one of the world's most important smartphone markets.
The deal was reported Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal, which said a source had indicated that it would be announced Dec. 18 at a China Mobile conference.
[Updated, 6:47 a.m. PST Dec. 5: In a note to clients Thursday, Gene Munster, a Piper Jaffray analyst, said China Mobile iPhone sales could add as much as 5% to Apple's revenues in the current fiscal year that ends September 2014.
In early trading, Apple's stock rose $7.92, or 1.4%, to $572.92.]
[Updated, 10:49 a.m. PST Dec. 5: Reuters is reporting a deal may not have been inked yet.
"We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," China Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei told Reuters.]
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times