High-end cellular data market small but growing rapidly, says CEO
The head of the world's largest cellular provider, China Mobile's CEO Li Yue, has revealed that about half of the 2.8 million TD-LTE "4G" subscribers on his network are iPhone users. While dwarfed by the total number of customers China Mobile has -- some 780 million -- the figure suggest that the iPhone is the preferred brand as Chinese customers transition from "feature" phones to LTE-capable smartphones.
First time iPad buyers will have access to China's limited LTE network
Apple has revealed that China Mobile and its other Chinese telecom partners -- along with its own stores and resellers -- are carrying a special model of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display that is specific to the Chinese market, and compatible with the country's proprietary TD-SCDMA wireless standard, meaning new iPad buyers can now use the tablets on China's limited TD-LTE cellular network, which is mostly limited to the biggest cities. The Chinese iPads are separate models from the ones sold outside China.
Expansion may be hampered by limited 4G network
China Mobile added some 1 million new iPhone customers during the month of February, according to the company's annual earnings statement. Despite being the world's largest wireless carrier, it only formally launched iPhone sales in mid-January, well after rivals China Unicom and China Telecom. "We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities," comments China Mobile chairman Xi Gouhua.
Rival carriers see stagnation
China Mobile added 14 million more high-speed data subscribers in January, a growth faster than at any other time in its history, according to data from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. The 7.4 percent increase is attributed mainly to the iPhone, which Mobile started selling on January 17th. In December, by contrast, Mobile's high-speed base grew by less than 6 percent.
Recent release of iPhone 5 lineup prompts one percent rise
Apple is now the fifth-largest cellphone maker in China, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal based on numbers from analyst firm IDC. The iPhone maker leapt a full percentage point in the last quarter of 2013 on the strength of its iPhone 5s and 5c, and the report does not even include sales from China Mobile, with which Apple finally inked a deal in December. The surge in sales moved the iPhone into a seven percent share of the smartphone market.
Ten customers win iPhones signed by Apple CEO, China Mobile Chair
Apple's iPhones have formally arrived on China Mobile, the world's largest carrier and China's largest provider. The iPhone went on sale Friday morning in Beijing and other locations, with stores fulfilling long-awaited pre-orders of the iPhone (the 5s in particular) that have been gathered since mid-December. Foxconn is said to have delivered approximately 1.4 million iPhone 5s units to China Mobile recently, possibly an indication of strong pre-orders.
CEO drumming up shareholder interest in US
Apple CEO Tim Cook made a rare TV appearance on Wednesday in order to discuss the company's impending launch of the iPhone on China Mobile. Cook sat alongside Mobile chairman Xi Guohua during an interview with CNBC. The former called the deal a "watershed day," and claimed that Mobile has a "very fast network." He also spoke of "deep respect" for the carrier, adding that he's been "incredibly impressed" so far.
China Mobile adds 3,000 outlets for iPhone 5s, 5c sales in China
Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to be "incredibly optimistic" over the multi-year agreement the company made with China Mobile last month. Ahead of the impending launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on the mobile phone network on January 17th, Cook hinted that there could be more collaboration between the carrier and Apple in the future.
Apple, China Mobile may be anticipating high demand
China Mobile has taken in a shipment of approximately 1.4 million iPhone 5s units from Foxconn, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Mobile is set to launch its own iPhone sales on Friday, after years of losing sales to China Unicom and China Telecom. One Journal source comments that shipping over a million units to a single carrier in a month is "substantial," but at the same time notes that he/she has no information about demand beyond this month. Allegedly, Apple hasn't notified Foxconn about its goal for the next shipment.
Munster sees China Mobile deal bumping AAPL by five percent
Apple's new deal with China Mobile could net the iPhone maker an additional 17 in unit sales over the course of 2014, according to a new analysis. This according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who believes that the finalization of the China Mobile deal will prove quite lucrative for the Cupertino tech giant. Despite the potential sales jump that is now possible due to the iPhone being available on the world's largest wireless carrier, Piper Jaffray is taking the conservative approach and not altering its price targets for the company until Apple reports new sales figures.
iPhone to launch on world's largest carrier on January 17
Apple and China Mobile on Sunday announced the completion of a multi-year agreement to bring the iPhone to that carrier, the largest in the world. The deal will see Apple's bestselling iPhones sold in China Mobile's retail stores, as well as China Mobile-compatible iPhones in Apple retail stores across mainland China. The announcement marks the completion of a months-long process that has been marked by continual rumors and apparent delays, even as the last month seemed to confirm the iPhone's arrival, with the carrier opening reservations for the devices in early December.
Wider availability of iPhone 5s may have lowered demand
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who just two months ago surprised investors by saying that first-weekend sales of the new iPhone models were likely to have been evenly split between the constrained iPhone 5s and the colorful iPhone 5c, now believes that the iPhone 5c will be outsold by older models of iPhone -- both the still-supported iPhone 4s and scarcer but still in-channel iPhones 5 and 4 -- and that its alleged low sales may be holding up the China Mobile deal.
Formal announcement expected soon
China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua has downplayed rumors that his company has already finalized a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone. Speaking to journalists during a conference in Guanzhou, the executive claimed that the Chinese carrier has no announcement to make and is still in talks with Apple, according to a Reuters report.
Numbers considered conservative, could go as high as 23 million
A new survey of Chinese consumers -- including those not yet on smartphones but planning to move to them -- predicts that a China Mobile deal that appears to be happening in spite of a lack of official announcements could result in an additional 12 million to 23 million iPhones sold in the first year. Though Apple already sells iPhones in China (including the latest models), the unveiling of a national LTE network for China and a deal with its largest carrier promises to boost the company's fortunes substantially.
Shenzhen store given over to iPhone banners, phones, accessories
While again not a confirmation of a formal agreement between China Mobile and Apple, one of the carrier's resellers or retail outlets is already aggressively promoting the forthcoming LTE network and pushing the latest iPhone models as being compatible with it. An American blogger in China going by the name "PRC and Me" spotted and photographed the store in Shenzhen's Futian district, featuring advertising material, accessories and on-display iPhones.
Chance to pre-order new iPhones on China Mobile may be just hours away
An official China Mobile page which lets Beijing-based users make reservations for its new "4G" LTE service features a graphic of the iPhone 5s and (on a different page) a jewel-encrusted golden apple -- which both confirms that the world's largest cellular carrier will be including the iPhone at long last, and hints that pre-orders for it could begin as early as late Thursday. China Mobile is the last of China's major cellular providers to carry the iPhone, the result of nearly six years of negotiations.
December 13 date of device sale, December 18 date of 4G rollout
Potentially dispelling the rumors and false starts, China Mobile is taking preorders for iPhones on Thursday in Shanghai, according to an advertisement that briefly appeared on its website and in a call placed to customer service. Using the slogan "4G is here!" the ad not only announced the opening date of iPhone sales, but also suggests phones from other vendors such as Sony, Samsung, and HTC, that all support the new 4G network that the carrier has been building out for the last two years.
Carrier maintains position despite rumors of imminent launch
The world's biggest cellphone carrier, China Mobile, says it is still discussing an iPhone deal with Apple, according to a Reuters report. "We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," comments Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal claimed that a deal had been signed, supporting rumors that Mobile might start selling iPhones as soon as December 18th.
Agreement would increase iPad sales opportunities, lift Apple revenues
Assuming that the latest iPhones (and possibly iPads) debut in China and on China Mobile as expected on December 18, Apple will have just two weeks of sales there to record before the close of the company's fiscal Q1 for 2014. In a testament the sheer scale of both China's overall economy and China Mobile's subscriber base are, those few days might be enough to materially affect Apple's overall earnings for the period, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Report hinges on single, unnamed source, but signs are there
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a pre-order site connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and state media announcements.
Issued licenses allow for 4G LTE cellular usage in China
The three major carriers in China have been issued licenses to operate TD-LTE networks in the country. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has provided the licenses to China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom today, which opens the door to Chinese mobile users being able to use faster mobile connections in the future.
China Mobile 4G network compatible with iPhone 5c, 5s
The Chinese state media outlet, Xinhua News Agency is claiming that Apple's new iPhone releases, the iPhone 5c and 5s, will see release on the country's largest mobile operator, China Mobile, on December 18. The report dovetails with previous claims of the release being on that date.
Carrier still waiting on 4G license from Chinese government
China Mobile is planning to introduce a new brand for its mobile services on December 18th, something that could hint at the iPhone finally arriving on the carrier, says the Wall Street Journal. The brand announcement is expected to take place during Mobile's 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou. The carrier has said it's ready to start 4G services; although it must still wait for the Chinese government to issue 4G licenses, local media has indicated that may happen as soon as next week.
Launch delayed due to China Mobile TD-LTE build-out
China Mobile will be receiving the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c early next month, if a photograph of a promotional poster is genuine. The launch on the largest Chinese carrier will apparently take place on November 11th, with the iPhone to be made available as one of the first devices to use its 100Mbps TD-LTE mobile network.
Asks for experience with TD-SCDMA
Apple is looking to hire an engineering manager familiar with China Mobile's TD-SCDMA 3G standard, Bloomberg notes. The person's job will be to "support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones;" notably, Apple is asking for experience with TD-SCDMA, even though China Mobile has yet to carry the iPhone. The listing backs several reports pointing to an imminent China Mobile iPhone launch.
Carrier's plans to sell device still unofficial
China's Telecom Equipment Certification Center has granted a network access license for an iPhone compatible with China Mobile, according to the agency's website. The TECC has also granted fresh licenses for iPhones compatible with China Unicom and China Telecom, but Mobile has never before sold the iPhone. The certification adds to the evidence that Mobile will start carrying the device in the near future.
Backs reports of China Mobile deal
The iPhone 4 is still available through Apple's online store in China, checks show. The 4 has disappeared as an option elsewhere in the world, the 4S taking its place as the cheapest option in Apple's iPhone lineup. Many carriers will be offering the 4S for free on contract. In China, an 8GB iPhone 4 is listed at RMB 2,588 (about $420) unlocked, while a 4S is RMB 3,288, and 16GB versions of the 5c and 5s are RMB 4,488 and RMB 5,288, respectively.
China's largest carrier may get iPhone later
Apple's next generation of iPhone may launch later on China Mobile than on other Chinese carriers, according to a new report. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a note last week explaining that China Mobile is still in the process of rolling out its TDD-LTE network, which will bring faster data speeds to its 700 million subscribers. While China Mobile completes that process, its customers could have to wait until November to get their hands on Apple's phone.
Marks an end to long-running negotiations
Apple is getting ready to deliver iPhones to China Mobile, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The paper notes that while it isn't clear if the two businesses have signed a formal sales agreement, the impending delivery of phones would mean that some sort of deal has been arranged. One source elaborates that Apple has asked its main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, to add China Mobile to the list of carriers that will be getting the low-cost iPhone, better known as the iPhone 5C. When Mobile might be getting the 5C is uncertain.
Devices expected to support TDD-LTE
The iPhone 5S and 5C could reach China as soon as November 28th, according to local publication the First Financial Daily. The main obstacle at the moment is said to be the verification process required by the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The report also echoes claims that the phones will support TDD-LTE, the 4G standard using by heretofore-unsupported Chinese carrier China Mobile.
Carrier chairman believes 'both sides are keen' on iPhone reaching China Mobile
China Mobile is still talking to Apple about bringing the iPhone to its network. New comments from China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua reveal that the two companies "are actively negotiating and both sides are keen," which could potentially see subscribers of the Chinese carrier being able to buy and use the iOS smartphones on its TD-SCDMA network in the future.
Could hint at long-awaited iPhone deal
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua in Beijing on Tuesday, the latter company tells Reuters. The subject of the executives' discussion is being kept secret, but the pair were likely in talks to bring a new iPhone and/or iPad to China Mobile. The company is the only major Chinese carrier without an Apple deal, although it has a number of unofficial iPhone users on its network.
Company's growth rate slips
Apple remains in first place on an annual BrandZ ranking of the world's most valuable brands, notes MarketingWeek. Apple's brand is estimated to be worth $185.071 billion, putting it well ahead of next-closest rivals Google ($113.669 billion) and IBM ($112.536 billion). Other companies in the top 10 include McDonald's, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Microsoft, Marlboro, Visa, and China Mobile.
Carrier aims squarely at iPhone support
China Mobile has announced plans to spend $6.7 billion in developing its 4G LTE network during 2013, Reuters says. The carrier adds that it expects to have licenses by the end of the year; Reuters indicates that the company is aiming explicitly at supporting the iPhone, which is incompatible with its 3G network. Mobile uses a proprietary 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, which has so far led Apple to favor Mobile's rivals, China Unicom and China Telecom.
Host of new hardware features predicted, China model too
New speculation by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a new flagship iPhone "5S" model arriving in early summer, alongside a redesigned version often referred to as a "low cost" iPhone because it will be more affordable in instalment payments than the current price of a new iPhone model, and made of cheaper materials. The new iPhone models, he says, will also be compatible with China's TD-DLTE and TD-SCDMA networks, be offered by China Mobile, and will offer a host of new features -- reiterating his earlier predictions.
Expects 80-percent of 2013 TD-SCDMA sales to be smartphones
China Mobile has sold over 60 million TD-SCDMA-based mobile devices during 2012, the company revealed today. Wang Hengjiang, deputy general manager of products for China Mobile, made the claim at Qualcomm's QRD Summit in Shenzen, including that at least seven million of that total came from sales in December alone.
May hint at advancement on iPhone deal
(Updated with cellular iPad mini launch info) As a part of his ongoing tour of China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has met with the chairman of China Mobile, Xi Guohua, Reuters reports. A Mobile spokesman will only say that the two talked about "matters of cooperation" at the carrier's headquarters earlier today, and that no further details can be given out because of a confidentiality agreement. Despite being the world's biggest phone carrier in terms of subscribers, China Mobile is the only national Chinese carrier without the iPhone.
Remarks from president claims business issues, not technical, to blame
Yue Li, the president of China Mobile, confirmed at its Worldwide Developer's Conference that business issues are holding up agreements with Apple -- preventing the iPhone from reaching China's largest cellphone provider's network. Li confirmed that the company had been negotiating with Apple since 2009, and was close to reaching a contract in 2011.
Could impact Apple sales, China Mobile launch
If Apple is in fact holding an iPhone event on September 12th, it could create some unexpected problems, an investor memo from Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu indicates. Based on "supplier checks," the analyst notes that he only expects volume production of iPhones to happen in late September. If so that could meant that while suppliers will make a fair amount of money in the September quarter, Apple itself won't see a substantial amount of money until the December quarter.
Would extend iPhone's 'world phone' status
The next-generation iPhone will likely not only support standard 3G and 4G networks, but also the China Mobile version of 3G, TD-SCDMA, says Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. Based on "supply chain work" by his firm, Wu suggests that the next iPhone will expand on the world phone status of the iPhone 4S by adding both LTE 4G and TD-SCDMA. China Mobile is the only carrier in the world to use TD-SCDMA, something that has so far interfered with iPhone compatibility.
Carrier losing subscribers due to native 3G standard
China Mobile is in talks with Apple to offer the iPhone, confirms Mobile chairman Xi Guohua. The executive made the statement on Wednesday at a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong, his first since replacing Wang Jianzhou, who retired in March. Apple has refused to comment, and Xi didn't elaborate much further at the meeting, saying he couldn't predict if a deal would be reached this year. "China Mobile and Apple both have the will to strengthen cooperation," he commented. "When there is more specific news, we will disclose it."
China Mobile deploys early LTE
China Mobile took its first tentative steps into LTE on Friday with a launch plan for service in Hong Kong. The 100Mbps service will be active as of April 25. At least two 4G phones will be available the same day as the service, Bloomberg was told, with a total of 10 reaching the market by the end of 2012.
HTC T328 line exports One ideas to China
HTC has expanded its 2012 phone line by reviving the Desire name for a trio of smartphones that will land in China. Caught by ePrice, the VT T328t, VC T328d, and V T328w are closest in spirit to the One V but improve on it, carrying larger four-inch (though still 480x800) screens. All four share Android 4.0 with the new streamlined Sense 4.0 as well as a 1GHz single-core Snapdragon, a five-megapixel rear camera, 4GB of built-in space plus a microSD slot, and Beats Audio.
Samsung has 24pc of China sartphones
Gartner on Sunday revealed the extent to which Apple's share of China's smartphones trailed others. Although Apple leads worldwide, it sat at 7.5 percent, or fifth place, in China's sphere. Samsung, in the lead at 24.3 percent, had over three times as much share.
China may delay full LTE rollouts for years
Hopes for a quick LTE deployment in China were possibly quashed after Ministroy of Industry and Information Technology leader Miao Wei said in an interview that licenses would have to wait. He thought it probable that the government would wait two to three years before it gave licenses for local TDD-based (Time Division Duplex) LTE networks. In the discussion, run on state TV and caught by PCWorld, he explained that the gap would be a deliberate attempt to have coverage and device plans catch up with demand.
Carrier still unofficially supported
The number of iPhone users on China Mobile has reached 15 million, according to the carrier's chairman, Wang Jianzhou. The figure is notable because the only official iPhone carrier in China so far has been rival China Unicom. All of the Mobile iPhone subscribers are therefore using hacked and/or gray market devices, despite efforts to clamp down on unofficial sales. Apple now appears to be quietly supporting the carrier.
Report says Apple supporting unofficial carrier
Apple has contributed to fixing a problem with using the iPhone 4S on China Mobile, the People's Daily reports. Some 4S owners have been having trouble activating SIM cards, or else simply making calls with a full signal. A telecom expert reached by the Daily notes that the issue appears to involve the 4S only supporting the GSM P band -- 885-915MHz -- and not the E band (880-890MHz), although both are used by China Mobile.
China Mobile paves the way for 4G iPhone
China Mobile has confirmed that it is about to commence the wide-scale rollout of a TD-LTE mobile network. The largest telco in the world with 655 million customers has announced that it will deploy 20,000 TD-LTE base stations by the end of 2012, increasing to 200,000 by the end of 2013. The announcement is significant as the iPhone is not currently available on the influential network due to incompatibilities, but an LTE-capable iPhone would support TD-LTE.
Marvell PXA1802, PXA1202, PXA2128 at MWC
Marvell helped kick off Mobile World Congress with a pair of important cellular chipsets and a new mobile processor to match. The PXA1802 is one of the first cellular chips that can talk both to a conventional 4G LTE base station as well as the TD-LTE used on China Mobile and some North American carriers, even up to LTE's peak 150Mbps speed. It can connect to TD-SCDMA for China Mobile smartphones, although Marvell told Electronista it could also be used for pure data on a hotspot or tablet.
Commercial NGHs coming over next 12 months
Industry association Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) revealed on Thursday that some of the biggest carriers in the world have successfully tested Next Generation Hotspots (NGH). Wi-Fi access to these hubs is much simpler, and the second half of 2012 will see more tests that involve more advanced features. The first commercial NGHs will be built over the course of the next 10 months.