Rumors have been suggesting that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could announce a deal with the world’s largest carrier on Dec. 18. That’s the same day China Mobile will activate its 4G LTE network. Some analysts are now preparing their estimates of the monetary benefits Apple could receive from a deal with the carrier. According to RBC Capital Markets’ Amit Daryanini, the company could see a revenue benefit of between $9 million and $10 million every year. The analyst also estimates that the deal could add as much as $3 a share in earnings.
Is Apple really close to a deal with China Mobile?
A subsidiary of China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:941) was said to have posted a page accepting preorders for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 5S and 5C this week. China Mobile said no deal had been reached with Apple yet, and the page was promptly removed. At this point we don’t know if the page was an accidental revelation of a yet-to-be officially announced deal or just wishful thinking on the part of the subsidiary.
Apple needs access to China Mobile’s vast network
One of the reasons investors and analysts are practically salivating over a deal between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and China Mobile is because the latter has about 755 million mobile subscribers. Of that number, 170 million are customers subscribed to high-speed data plans.
Daryanini estimates that Apple could take 10% of those high-speed customers, which would equate to the purchase of about 17 million iPhones through the addition of just the one carrier. The analyst estimates that just by striking a deal with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:941), Apple’s market share in China could go up 1.8 times. He also notes that as the number 3G subscribers in the nation increases, Apple’s addressable market there will likely increase. China saw a month over month 16% increase in the last quarter.
Apple already equipped its new iPhones with components that are compatible with China Mobile’s unique network, so it would seem as if all the pieces are in place—except for an official deal.