"We can only say that negotiations have ended for now. We have no other news to report," said Li Honghui, a spokeswoman for China Mobile Communications Corp., the parent of cell phone carrier China Mobile. She declined to comment further.
Rainie Lei, a spokeswoman for China Mobile, earlier Monday also declined to say why the talks ended.
"We have held talks with Apple to launch the iPhone device in China. However, those talks have ended," she said.
Calls to Cupertino, California-based Apple were not answered Monday.
Citing an unnamed official at China Mobile's data services department, Chinese Internet portal Sina.com reported Monday that China Mobile and Apple could not agree on revenue-sharing terms in their preliminary discussions, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
The official said China Mobile was unwilling to accept Apple's request for a 20 percent to 30 percent share of China Mobile's user fees from future iPhone users, according to the report.
Market watchers and analysts have said a breakdown in talks between Apple and China Mobile could open the way for rival China Unicom Ltd. to offer the iPhone exclusively in mainland China.
China Unicom spokeswoman Sophia Tso declined to comment.
Eric Wen, an analyst at BNP Paribas, said the lack of an agreement would have little impact on China Mobile. But he said the failed negotiations could be a significant positive for China Unicom, which could start talks on an exclusive deal to supply the iPhone.
Wen said he believes China Unicom may be more willing than China Mobile to give Apple a larger percentage of user fees given its smaller share of China's mobile phone market.
Apple launched the iPhone in the U.S. in 2007 and has said it plans to launch the device in Asia this year. It hasn't disclosed any details on which operators in the region it might work with.
Analysts have said they expect Apple to launch the iPhone with one exclusive partner in each country in Asia, as it has done in the U.S. and in Britain.
Shares in China Mobile fell 2.8 percent Monday in Hong Kong to close at HK$130.2.