There have been murmurings that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941) are about to announce a deal which brings the iPhone to China’s biggest carrier. Now we have yet another suggestion of timing about this deal. Will the iPhone launch on China Mobile next month?
Stifel suggests November launch for Apple on China Mobile
Stifel analysts Aaron C. Rakers, Joseph Quatrochi and Andrew Shinn looked at data from several sources, and they have drawn the conclusion that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone could be coming to the China Mobile network in November. They point to a report from UnwiredView.com last week which claimed China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology could approve the carriers TD-LTE network for commercial use next month.
This could mean that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s two new iPhone models will launch on the network at the same time since they support that technology.
China Mobile could add $4 or more a share to Apple
According to their estimates, the addition of China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941) could add between $4 and $8 per share to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) annualized earnings per share in the 12 months after launch. They used a 40 percent gross margin to come up with that estimate.
IDC reported last week that smartphone shipments in China could hit 360 million this year and 450 million next year, with 120 million of those smartphones supporting 4G and 32 million supporting China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941)’s TD-LTE network. IDC also said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s smartphone market share in the country could double next year thanks to the release of two handsets. Stifel analysts believe this report suggests China Mobile will pair its iPhone support announcement with the launch of its TD-LTE network, which is expected to happen as early as November.
Changing market share in China
Stifel analysts believe that Android’s market share in China will peak this year and fall to less than 80 percent next year, while iOS and Windows Phone both gain share from Android. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) ended the second quarter of the year with a 7.3 percent share of the Chinese mobile market, even dropping below that of smaller Lenovo.