Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

China Mobile: Peek-a-boo! Here comes the iPhone 5S

Is China's largest carrier about to offer the 5S? A new preorder reservation page certainly paints that picture.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple may be one step closer to selling the iPhone 5S to the vast number of China Mobile subscribers.

A new reservation page posted by the carrier touts the coming of a 4G LTE phone, inviting people to sign up for preorders. The page doesn't mention Apple's smartphone by name but clearly shows an image of the 5S smack dab in the center.

And in a tip received from a couple of CNET readers, lopping off the yuyue/order.html part of the page's URL results in http://www.bj.10086.cn/service/mobile/mingxingji/, which lists the 5S and 5C by name and shows an image of an Apple logo.

A China Mobile promo page launched early this week promised that preorders for the new phone would be available starting Thursday. And last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had reached a deal with China Mobile to offer the iPhone. However, neither company has yet to fess up to an agreement between them.

China Mobile is home to 760 million subscribers, by far the largest number among the country's top three carriers. A deal with Apple could see as many as 17 million additional iPhones sold next year, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster recently forecast.

Update, 8:29 a.m. PT: Adds details on URL that lists the iPhone 5S and 5C by name.