The tie-up between the pair, in the United States company's second-largest market after its home turf, provides a much-needed boost for Apple in a market where it's trailing rivals. It will also give Apple extra firepower in its increasing global rivalry with South Korea's Samsung Electronics.
The deal was welcomed by China Mobile customers.
"The deal between China Mobile and Apple is really good. It becomes more convenient for us customers. If I want to buy an iPhone, I can buy directly from China Mobile in the future," said another customer, 47-year-old Ms. Xu, who is also an employee of a foreign company.
China Mobile could gain 17 million new iPhone activations in 2014 alone, according to research firm Forrester, more than double the 16.8 million iPhones Apple sold in mainland China for the 12 months ended September, according to Forrester data.
But after an expected initial surge, Apple is likely to find itself back in a costly marketing battle with Samsung Electronics.
The deal has been years in the making, with numerous visits by Apple to the headquarters of the state-owned carrier in Beijing. Negotiations have been tricky, in part because of disagreements over details like revenue-sharing, analysts have said.