Apple new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have taken a flying start in the Chinese market. The new iPhones received more than 20 million advance bookings when they went up for pre-order in October. Now data from China’s leading telecom carriers suggest that Apple’s new smartphones continue to drive 4G adaptation in China.
China Mobile added 16.8M new 4G subscribers in November
Stifel analysts Aaron Rakers and Sanjiv Wadhwani analyzed China Mobile and China Unicom’s operational results in November. It was the first full month of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch in China. Currently, there are 1.28 billion mobile subscribers in China, including 575.9 million 3G/4G subscribers. China Mobile exited November with 803.85 million subscribers, up from 801.5 million subscribers in October.
The largest Chinese carrier also disclosed that it had 71.2 million 4G subscribers at the end of November, up from 54.5 million in October. Notably, China Mobile added 16.8 million new 4G subscribers in November, up from 12.1 million in September 2014. China Unicom ended November with 148 million 3G/4G subscribers, up from 146.9 million in October.
Apple improves iPhone 6/6Plus supplies in China
Analysts said it was difficult to extract Apple’s new smartphone sales from China Mobile’s subscriber data. But investors will be focused on China Mobile’s 4G TD-LTE ramp. Apple’s new iPhones are now available in China and reports point to over 20 million pre-orders. So, analysts believe, investor focus will be on supply availability. Though Apple is still coping with massive demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but supplies have improved considerably in the U.S. as well as China.
In China, the online Apple Store currently shows iPhone 6 and 6 Plus 6 delivery date as 3-5 days for most color/capacity combinations. By comparison, consumers who ordered the devices a month ago had to wait 3-4 weeks to get their new iPhones. Stifel analysts estimate that Apple could ship 12 million to 14 million iPhones in China alone in the December quarter. Note that not all pre-orders convert into actual sales.
What’s more, the Cupertino-based tech giant has increased its targeted channel inventory range from 4-6 weeks to 5-7 weeks, largely due to the growth in emerging markets.
Apple shares jumped 1.09% to $113 at 12:10 PM EST on Monday.