Apple and China Mobile have finally signed a deal whereby the former’s iPhone handsets will be officially made available on the latter’s network, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal.

The deal is expected to result in the launch of the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c on the largest mobile carrier in the world on the same day as its 4G LTE network. The Wall Street Journal notes:

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.

This latest report all but confirms the recent rumors pointing to Apple and China Mobile’s long-awaited partnership.

Late last September, China Mobile posters posted online hinted at the iPhone’s imminent launch on the carrier in question. Then, in October, Apple posted a job listing for a Beijing-based mobile expert with a knowledge of China Mobile’s 4G LTE standard.

And just yesterday, preregistration webpages for the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c indicated a Dec. 18 launch date on China Mobile.

As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, China Mobile’s 700-million-plus strong subscriber base is seven times as large as that of Verizon Wireless, the largest carrier in the U.S. Small wonder, then, that Apple is expected to gain an additional $10 billion per year in revenue from its deal with China Mobile.