The world's largest mobile phone service provider by subscribers is still in talks with Apple about offering the iPhone in China even though rival China Unicom started selling the handsets there last month.
"I think the iPhone is a very good phone for consumers and is very popular with young customers so China Mobile has continued negotiations with Apple to introduce the iPhone on China Mobile's network," said Wang Jianzhou, chairman and CEO of China Mobile at the GSM Association's Mobile Asia Congress in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Talks between Apple and China Mobile have gone on for years, but the CEO declined to comment on why no agreement has been reached. China Mobile first revealed its iPhone negotiations two years ago.
China Mobile's CEO has complained publicly in the past about the revenue sharing model with the iPhone, and China Mobile has opened its own app store, the Mobile Market.
China Unicom started selling the iPhone in China at the end of last month.
Ryuji Yamada, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile network operator, said other mobile phones are improving and predicted smartphones based on Android and Windows Mobile will catch up with the iPhone.
"I think that day is not far off," he said, during an on-stage discussion at the Mobile Asia Congress.