AAPL stock down as market ponders the mystery of the missing China Mobile deal

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AAPL stock took a 1.8 percent hit in pre-market trading as China Mobile not only failed to announce its iPhone launch today as had been expected, but its chairman Xi Guohua specifically told reporters that the world’s largest carrier had no announcement to make.

While neither Apple nor China Mobile ever officially confirmed today as the launch date, the Chinese government confirmed the date as the one on which 4G service would begin, China Mobile had said it would launch “a new brand” today and the WSJ seemed confident last month that today was the day.

The deal has been a very long time in the coming, but all the pieces of the puzzle looked to have fallen into place …  Read more

iPhone market share in China more than doubled following 5s and 5c launch

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Data from smartphone market intelligence specialist Counterpoint shows that iPhone market share in China more than doubled between September and October even before launching on the country’s biggest carrier, China Mobile.

Apple’s market share rose from just under 5 percent to 12 percent, taking it from 6th place to 3rd place, behind Samsung and Lenovo …  Read more

Get your subsidized iPhones while you can – AT&T says the deals can’t last

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AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson told investors yesterday that with smartphone penetration approaching 90 percent, the existing business model – where carriers sell highly-subsidized smartphones to drive demand – will have to change.

When you’re growing the business initially, you have to do aggressive device subsidies to get people on the network. But as you approach 90 percent penetration, you move into maintenance mode. That means more device upgrades. And the model has to change. You can’t afford to subsidize devices like that.

Many U.S. iPhone buyers don’t realise the true cost of their handsets, as carrier subsidies mean they typically pay no more than $200. The full retail cost of those handsets, however, ranges from $549 for a 16GB iPhone 5c to $849 for a 64GB iPhone 5s. The balance is paid by the carrier, then clawed back through the contract payments …  Read more

WSJ: Apple and China Mobile strike a deal, iPhone finally headed to world’s largest mobile carrier around Dec. 18

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has finally reached an agreement with China Mobile to carry the iPhone. China Mobile is currently the world’s largest mobile carrier with well over 700 million subscribers. Yesterday a subsidiary of the carrier started taking pre-orders for the smartphone, though the page was quickly pulled from its website.

In September the advertisment above leaked to the media. The image is a promotion for the iPhone 5s and 5c running on China Mobile’s network. The Chinese government, which controls China Mobile, confirmed that the phone would be available on December 18th last month, although neither Apple nor China Mobile would actually confirm the rumor.

China Mobile subsidiary briefly accepting pre-orders for iPhones in possible soft launch

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With the iPhone launch on the biggest carrier in the world’s most populated market confirmed for 18th DecemberFortune spotted what appears to have been a soft launch in the city of Suzhou. The city is one of the richest in China, so would be a logical place for an early launch.

The attached screen grab comes from a website owned by a subsidiary of China Mobile Limited in Suzhou, a city of 5 million just west of Shanghai.

The site went live late Monday local time, when it began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C …  Read more

China Mobile launch for iPhone as good as confirmed for 18th December [Update: It's official]

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Image: appadvice.com

Update: The Chinese government has now confirmed this date.

The iPhone looks set to be launched by China Mobile – the biggest carrier in the world’s biggest country – on Wednesday 18th December, reports the WSJ. While neither the carrier nor Apple have made a definitive announcement, China Mobile has said this is the date it will “introduce a new brand.”

The launch is expected during the company’s 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou, according to China Mobile’s website. An executive at the world’s largest mobile operator has said it is ready to start fourth-generation mobile services, though China has yet to issue 4G licenses. In September, China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center gave Apple Inc.the final license necessary for the iPhone to run on China Mobile’s network …  Read more

Apple TD-LTE job listing serves as additional confirmation for China Mobile iPhone

China Mobile cell tower

While a possible deal with China Mobile, one of the world’s largest telecoms, was rumored for quite sometime leading up to launch of the new iPhones, the company said in August that it was still working out “commercial and technical issues” with Apple. Today, Bloomberg points us to an Apple job listing in China that provides some evidence that the company is indeed preparing to launch the iPhone on the carrier’s network:

The manager, who will be based in Beijing, will “support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones,” Apple said in an advertisement on its China website. The position seeks experience with TD-SCDMA, China Mobile’s own third-generation standard that isn’t used by other carriers.

On top of TD-SCDMA, the job listing is also seeking an engineer with experience in TD-LTE, which is the LTE standard that China Mobile has quickly been rolling out. Back in August the often reliable KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo claimed that Apple was ramping up TD-LTE supported iPhone 5c production and estimated that the iPhone 5s and 5c on China Mobile could account for penetration of 25% and 35% of total shipments for the two devices. Currently the carrier has approximately 756 million subscribers, around 63% of the 1.2 billion wireless subscribers in China. Read more

China Mobile posters for the iPhone 5s and 5c leak, 4G certification imminent

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Supposed posters from China Mobile promoting the iPhone 5s and 5c have leaked out, touting “the strongest iPhone in China” (via UnwiredView). The ‘100’ visible on the poster indicates the network’s 100Mb/s maximum speed will be supported by the iPhone. Naturally, the iPhone will be China Mobile’s flagship 4G phone.

Apple has already received the necessary certification to put the iPhone on all Chinese spectrum, including the TD-LTE strand used by China Mobile, earlier this month. Now, the only holdup is getting permission from the MITT governing body to let China Mobile use the spectrum on a commercial basis.

Read more

China Mobile already has 42M iPhone users ahead of anticipated Apple deal, says Chinese tech site

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Image: Forbes.com

There were already 42M iPhones in use on China Mobile‘s network even before Apple’s anticipated deal with the carrier to offer the handset officially, claims Chinese site SinaTech.

Up to now, China Mobile iPhone users in the network has reached 42 million, which has exceeded the U.S. AT & T and Verizon combined sales of the two operators …

42 million is a huge number, especially when you consider that none of them were subsidised: all had to have been purchased at full price. If true, you can see why the potential for subsidised handsets in China is massive …  Read more

China Telecom apparently slips iPhone 5S, 5C arriving in China at launch, temporarily offers pre-orders

iPhone 5S Rear Shell

“Gold” iPhone 5S backplate

China Telecom, one of the carriers in China to carry Apple’s iPhone, posted a message on microblogging website Weibo indicating that it will soon carry both of Apple’s upcoming iPhones: the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The message has since been deleted.

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With Apple holding a satellite stream of the September 10th media event in China, it is already likely that the country will see a promoted launch of both of the new iPhones. However, the information from China Telecom seems to indicate that the launch will occur early in Apple’s new iPhone release cycle. With past iPhone launches, Apple saved the China debut for weeks or months after the device’s first hit countries like the United States, Germany, and Australia.

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A post on Sina indicates a September 20th launch, a date forecasted by some reports.

Perhaps corroborating a launch soon after the unveiling, major China-based retailer Dixintong is said to begin carrying the new iPhones on September 25th. It’s unclear if this is a general launch date for China, or just the date that this specific retailer has chosen.

In addition to seeing the device early-on in the release plan, recent chatter seems to indicate that China Mobile, the largest mobile carrier in the country, will gain the iPhone with the launches of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The lower-cost, plastic backed iPhone 5C seems to have been developed with markets such as China in mind…

Read more

Japan’s largest wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo, reportedly in talks to sell iPhone

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iPhone 5S Champagne

Bloomberg is reporting that shares of NTT DoCoMo are rising on rumors that Japan’s largest carrier will get the iPhone this year. The company’s rivals, KDDI and Softbank (who just bought Sprint) both currently carry the iPhone and saw their share price drop in morning trading.

[DoCoMo]Chief Financial Officer Kazuto Tsubouchi said there are compelling reasons for Apple and his company to reach an agreement, according to an interview published in SankeiBiz. For Apple, it doesn’t make business sense not to allow Japan’s largest wireless carrier to sell the iPhone, while DoCoMo wants to be able to sell most popular handsets, Sankei said.

The original Sankei article is here (translated) with the relevant bit translated by 9to5Mac reader Kazuto Kusakari:

A new iPhone from Apple is expected in September.  The Japanese market are paying close attention to whether NTT docomo will be selling the new model or not.  Having sold two other models as their main phones in the past summer season, the company is ready, as the vice-president Kazuto Tsubouchi has commented “the only problem is WHEN we are going to sell it.”…

Tsubouchi adds, “Nothing has changed.  It will be difficult (to sell the iPhone on September 10th). But for Apple, it is not economically reasonable to not sell the iPhone on Japan’s largest carrier.  As for NTT docomo, we must sell phone the customers desire.  It’s a matter of terms.

Apple is also working on China’s largest carrier, China Mobile, which also doesn’t currently carry the iPhone. If Apple can hook one or optimally both of these two monster carriers, it will be able to sell significantly more iPhones in Asia. Read more

China Mobile said to be ‘keen’ on selling iPhone, issues that remain are ‘commercial and technical’

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China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua

China Mobile, the world’s largest Telecom with close to 700M subscribers, reported mixed earnings today on slow growth of its smartphone business relative to its competitors which both carry the iPhone. Chairman Xi Guohua noted this and said that talks with Apple on carrying the iPhone were progressing.

“Both sides sounded keen (during recent talks),” Xi told a news conference after announcing the company’s first-half results.

“Good progress was made in preparing for the commercialization of TD-LTE,” Xi said, referring to 4G “long-term evolution” network technology that may support newer iPhone models.

Dow Jones’ Paul Mozur noted the remaining issues to be worked out:

Working out the hurdles and signing up the world’s largest telecom would obviously be a big win for Apple and CEO Tim Cook, who would probably love to announce the carrier relationship at the upcoming September 10th iPhone event in San Francisco.   Read more