Apple’s China Mobile deal is as good as done. iPhone5S and iPhone 5C will launch on the world’s biggest carrier this week. Even without an official announcement, China Mobile has the new iPhone promotion/pre-registration page running for several days already.
Why is everybody making such a big deal about China Mobile iPhone? Because of the sheer size of it. In early September we told you that China’s biggest carrier already had 42 million iPhone customers on its network. None of those customers were able to access CM’s proprietary 3G TD-SCDMA, and had to rely on the slow 2G GPRS/EDGE or Wi-Fi to deliver their data. Now that number has been confirmed and updated by Reuters.
According to the news agency, China Mobile now says that it has 45 million iPhone users. All of them still unofficial, stuck on GPRS/EDGE. How many of them, do you think, will rush to upgrade the first day iPhone 5S is offered by their carrier? Especially with those big subsidies we told you about last week.
Most analyst estimates put the iPhone gains to around 17-20 million units from China Mobile deal. Which, to me, sounds way too conservative. Even if half of the current CM iPhone user base upgrades their handsets to 4G capable devices with in a year, we are already looking at 22.5 million new iPhone sales.
Add the new customers heavy promotions and subsidies will bring as soon as China Mobile iPhone 5S is announced, and 30 million+ sold within next 12 months is a very real possibility.