updated 01:35 pm EST, Thu January 27, 2011
Device now 12 percent of all Japanese cellphones
The iPhone has had an "extraordinary" reception in Asia, "on par with the US some cases," according to analysts Toni Sacconaghi and Sanford Bernstein of Bernstein Research. The pair point to recent IDC data in particular, which indicates that the iPhone now forms 12 percent of all Japanese cellphone sales, not just smartphones. Given momentum and plans to open 20 more Chinese Apple Stores in 2011, it's inevitable that the iPhone will come to more Asian carriers, Sacconaghi argues.
The phone will come to China Telecom, Japan's KDDI and South Korea's LG Telecom, most likely in that order, the analyst proposes. Notably absent from the list is China Mobile, the largest cellular carrier in the world, which has been in talks with Apple for some time. With just the three quoted carriers alone, however, Sacconaghi estimates that about 7 to 8 million more iPhones could be sold in 2011.
The analyst contends that Apple will go with China Telecom before KDDI, despite the latter being able to sell more units. Apple is expected to prioritize China Telecom because of the strategic significance of the Chinese market. The iPhone is currently carried in the country by China Unicom, the only local outfit to support the GSM and HSPA network standards the iPhone has traditionally used. The Verizon iPhone will be the first non-GSM model.