Apple may soon be offering the iPhone to a bigger population than that of the US and the UK combined, as the company continues to engage in talks with China’s biggest mobile telco, China Mobile.

As we quietly confirmed last week, the recently-hatched China Unicom deal is a non-exclusive one, and while that deal alone may make for up to five million iPhone sales in China (up to one-in-five of all iPhones sold next year), but Apple’s management continues to negotiate for a bigger prize in getting hitched with China Mobile.

With 460 million subscribers, China Mobile offers the iPhone access to a market that’s bigger than the US and UK populations combined. And that’s got to be good for a few million more sales, once the deal’s inked.

No saying the deal will ever appear, of course, as talks between Apple and China Mobile have “reached no conclusion yet”, reports IDG News Service. And discussions began two years ago, that report confirms.

At issue, China Mobile seems to want to offer its own App Store in preference to Apple’s, and has also implemented a non-standard form of 3G, which the iPhone isn’t equipped for.

Meanwhile China Unicom will begin offering the must-have smarter smartphone from the fourth quarter.

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