Just how important is the China Mobile deal to Apple? It’s so important Apple CEO Tim Cook went on national television to promote the agreement, which will bring the iPhone to the world’s largest carrier on Friday, Jan. 17.

Cook, who was interviewed by CNBC, was joined by China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua. Referring to the agreement as a “watershed day,” Cook praised the carrier for having a “very fast network.”

Speaking in Beijing, in his first NBC appearance since 2012, Cook continued:

It’s a huge announcement…we’re incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them. We see this as bringing the world’s best smartphone to the very largest and now the fastest network in China.

For his part, Xi confirmed China Mobile had netted 1.2 million total preorders for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c as of Monday, Jan. 13.

Take a look:

Earlier today, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple’s incipient partnership with China Mobile was likely to go beyond iPhones.

As Aldrin Calimlim noted:

“Apple Inc.’s deal with China Mobile Ltd. to sell iPhones won’t be limited to handsets,” the publication notes, “but will also entail broad cooperation between the two companies, the chairman of the world’s largest carrier said Wednesday.”

China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua’s statement is corroborated by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who said that he is “incredibly optimistic” about the partnership and hinted that other products such as the iPad may become part of it in the future.

China Mobile caters to more than 700 million subscribers. This is seven times as many as the subscribers of Verizon Wireless, the larger carrier in the U.S.

See also: AppAdvice International: The Woz, China, Brisbane And BritainFoxconn Is Said To Have Shipped 1.4 Million iPhone 5s Handsets To China Mobile, and Apple Hopes To Boost China Sales Through Opening Online Store On Tmall.