Apple Inks Deal with China Mobile: Expect Record iPhone Shipments in Upcoming Quarter

World’s Largest Cell Network Operator to Sell iPhone 5s and 5c in China

by Anton Shilov
12/23/2013 | 04:02 PM

Apple and China Mobile has announced they have entered into a multi-year agreement to bring iPhone to the world's largest mobile network. The move will help Apple to compete against Lenovo Group and Samsung Electronics in China, where the two companies are exceptionally strong. In the upcoming quarter, Apple will likely post record sales of its smartphones.


“Apple’s iPhone is very much loved by millions of customers around the world. We know there are many China Mobile customers and potential new customers who are anxiously awaiting the incredible combination of iPhone on China Mobile’s leading network. We are delighted that iPhone on China Mobile will support our 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA networks, providing customers with high-speed mobile service,” said Xi Guohua, China Mobile chairman.

As part of the agreement, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available from China Mobile's expansive network of retail stores as well as Apple retail stores across mainland China beginning on Friday, January 17, 2014. iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the latest smartphone from Apple, will be available for pre-registration from China Mobile's official website and customer service hotline "10086" beginning on Wednesday, December 25, 2013.

China Mobile now has over 1.2 million 2G/GSM, 3G/TD-SCDMA, 4G/TD-LTE base stations and over 4.2 million Wi-Fi access points, providing broad coverage to quality networks for iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c customers. China Mobile is rolling out the world’s largest 4G network. By the end of 2013, China Mobile’s 4G services will be available in 16 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. By the end of 2014, China Mobile plans to complete the rollout of more than 500 thousand 4G base stations, which will cover more than 340 cities with 4G service. The collaboration between Apple and China Mobile will give a big boost to the development of China's homegrown 4G/TD-LTE technology. iPhone on China Mobile supports major cellular network standards, making a global phone a reality for China Mobile customers.

“Apple has enormous respect for China Mobile and we are excited to begin working together. China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world's largest network. iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group, and we can’t think of a better way to welcome in the Chinese New Year than getting an iPhone into the hands of every China Mobile customer who wants one,” said Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple.

Details of pricing and availability of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c for China Mobile will be available at a later date.

Financial analysts estimate that Apple can sell at least ten million of iPhone smartphones to China Mobile in calendar 2014.

“Just last week during the launch of its 4G TD-LTE network, China Mobile’s CEO Li Yue said he expects China Mobile to sell 220 million smartphones in 2014, up from 155 million in 2013, 100 million (~45%) of which are expected to be 4G TD-LTE handsets, such as the iPhone 5s and 5c. We have assumed a 20 million run rate of incremental iPhone demand from China Mobile is achievable, but given the lack of details around pricing/promotion, we are currently forecasting 10 million incremental iPhones sold on China Mobile’s network in calendar 2014,” said Tavis McCourt, an analyst with Raymond James, reports Tech Trader Daily web-site.