This week we got the China Mobile news we've all been waiting for, iTunes Match reached a bunch of additional countries, and a couple of great initiatives have launched for British subscribers.
China Mobile iPhone deal confirmed
It's official – well, kind of: after a pre-registration Web page went live and an article from The Wall Street Journal corroborated with the obvious, it seems China Mobile is indeed set to offer subscribers Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c from Dec. 18. As you may remember, this is the same day China Mobile is set to bring its TD-LTE network to the masses.
Our article explained:
In a report from the Chinese language publication C Tech a screenshot of the pre-registration Web page (pictured above) is included. The article also explains that the China Mobile Web page provides a launch date of Dec. 18 for the rumored handsets, though no information concerning price plans has been announced.
Following on from here, The Wall Street Journal noted in a subsequent report:
At [its] Dec. 18 event, China Mobile plans to unveil a brand for its fourth-generation, or 4G, network. China Mobile executives have said they would only begin to sell the iPhone after introducing 4G services. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Wednesday it gave licenses to China Mobile and its smaller rivals to operate the higher-speed mobile networks, clearing one of the last hurdles.
Since, however, a further online advertisement and an additional report from The Wall Street Journal have both indicated that preorders for China Mobile's iPhone are set to launch this Thursday, Dec. 12. As our original article noted:
After attempting to preorder an iPhone using China Mobile's website, The Wall Street Journal contacted the carrier directly, asking when online orders for Apple's smartphone will launch. According to the publication, a China Mobile representative stated that preorders for the iPhone will go live this week, on Dec. 12.
China Mobile's customer services operator explained: “Customers can begin to preorder for our new 4G services from Dec. 12 through the company’s website and some dedicated branches in Shanghai. But we will only start providing commercial 4G services after Dec. 18.”
Of course, there's been a lot of coverage concerning China Mobile and Apple this past week; of particular interest has been the financial benefits of an iPhone deal, which analysts have proposed could be huge.
iTunes Match reaches additional countries
Apple's iTunes Match service has reached additional countries, according to a new report. The new countries are Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, our original article explained:
The yearly subscription service is priced at €24.99 in Finland and 249 kr in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Along with that, all of the countries in the expansion have access to iTunes in the Cloud.
Plus, iTunes in the Cloud has also expanded to Portugal and Bulgaria, too.
It looks like Apple is working hard to expand its iTunes Match and iTunes in the Cloud services in the few countries which do not presently support them; the biggest problem here is music licensing, of course. In the United States and Britain, iTunes Match is priced at $24.99 and £21.99, respectively.
Good news from British carriers
This week brought some good news for iPhone owners living in Britain. Because four of the country's “big five” carriers, Everything Everywhere (EE), 3 (“Three”), Vodafone, and T-Mobile, have agreed to limit charges applicable to a handset that's been either lost or stolen. Our original article had all the information:
As if the pain of losing a $650 iPhone isn’t great enough, if the handset has been picked up or even stolen by a nefarious character, users could find that a high phone bill greets them at the end of the month. Over in Britain, however, four of the country’s “big five” carriers have agreed on a limit for lost or stolen phone charges, meaning a lost iPhone could soon be less of a dreadful ordeal (so long as your mobile insurance cover is in check, and your handset is regularly backed-up).
Once the change comes into effect, customers signed-up with one of the four aforementioned carriers should expect to have charges on a lost or stolen iPhone limited to £50 (around $82). Of course, this is great news for customers of EE, 3, T-Mobile, Vodafone, and T-Mobile; the missing carrier, however, is O2, and as of this writing we're still unsure why the network has chosen not to take part in this scheme.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:
We are ensuring hardworking families are not hit with shock bills through no fault of their own. Families can be left struggling if carefully planned budgets are being blown away by unexpected bills from a stolen mobile or a mid-contract price rise. This agreement with the telecoms companies will deliver real benefits to consumers and help ensure people are not hit with shock bills.
The change comes as part of the British government’s wider scheme to eliminate roaming charges by 2016, though if the European Commission (EC) is successful, it could be that extortionate international charges are eliminated in Europe a couple of years earlier, in 2014.
Furthermore, as if that wasn't enough, British carrier 3 also launched its 4G LTE service this week in three cities: London, Birmingham, and Manchester. The offering is impressive because it allows subscribers to access 4G LTE at no extra cost; as such, 3 offers the least expensive 4G LTE cellular network in Britain.
The carrier also confirmed that it is offering free roaming in a number of additional countries, including the United States:
In a press release published earlier today, the carrier also confirmed that it is abolishing roaming charges in the United States as part of its extended “Feel at Home” offering, which first launched in August with support for eight countries (the Republic of Ireland, Australia, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom).
Besides the United States, Feel at Home support has also been extended to include Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Macau. This means that subscribers can now enjoy zero roaming charges between a total of 11 different international territories.
That's all for this week; check back with us next Tuesday at 10 a.m. GMT for another edition of AppAdvice International.