Apple confirmed Sunday that it has reached an agreement with China Mobile to officially sell the iPhone in China.
This is big news worth a special press release due to the huge size of China Mobile’s customer base – 740 million subscribers, more than any other phone company in the world by far. China Mobile will start selling the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on Jan. 17, with pre-registrations starting on Christmas Day.
Pricing details will come later, Apple said. “Apple’s iPhone is very much-loved by millions of customers around the world,” China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua said in a statement. “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.”
Apple’s Tim Cook said he is excited to begin working with China Mobile. “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,” Cook said. “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.”
Read the full release below:
How many millions of units will Apple sell in China?
This is the great question that no one can answer but many people are happy to take a punt.
Piper Jaffray sees the potential for 17 million sales by China Mobile, while ISI analyst Brian Marshall said sales could reach nearly 39 million iPhones next year.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White sees thing somewhere between those estimates, forecasting calendar 2014 iPhone sales of 20 million to 24 million on China Mobile, while Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair sees sales of 18 million to 20 million iPhones, though the number will depend on how aggressively Apple and China Mobile promote the iPhone.
Even before the China Mobile deal, Apple has been making some inroads in the giant market. According to Counterpoint Research, the iPhone 5s, 5 and 5c were October’s No. 1, 2 and 4 top-selling smartphones, with Apple grabbing 12 percent of that month’s market share.
Apple stock up 3% pre-market.
China Mobile & Apple Bring iPhone to China Mobile’s 4G & 3G Networks on January 17, 2014
iPhone 5s & iPhone 5c Available for Pre-Registration Beginning December 25, 2013
BEIJING and CUPERTINO, California—December 22, 2013—Apple and China Mobile today announced they have entered into a multi-year agreement to bring iPhone to the world’s largest mobile network.
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, the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world and iPhone 5c, the most colourful iPhone yet, will be available for pre-registration from China Mobile’s official website (www.10086.cn) and customer service hotline “10086” beginning on Wednesday, December 25, 2013.
“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. “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,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO. “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.”
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 500,000 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.
iPhone 5s redefines the best smartphone experience in the world with amazing new features all packed into a remarkable thin and light design, including the Apple-designed A7 64-bit chip, all-new 8 megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash and introducing Touch ID, an innovative way to simply and securely unlock your phone with just the touch of a finger. iPhone 5c features an all new-design in five gorgeous colours and is packed with features people know and love like the beautiful 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast performance of the A6 chip, and the 8 megapixel iSight camera—all while delivering great battery life.* iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c both offer more 4G LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world and include all-new FaceTime HD cameras. iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c come with iOS 7, the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone, featuring a stunning new user interface, completely redesigned with an elegant colour palette, distinct, functional layers and subtle motion that make it feel more alive. iOS 7 has hundreds of great new features, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari and Siri.
Details of pricing and availability of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c for China Mobile will be available at a later date.