iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C finally land at China Mobile on January 17, pre-orders start on December 25
It’s finally happened. After more than six years of negotiations, Apple has managed to persuade the world’s biggest carrier to sell iPhones. This has been rumored increasingly over the past couple of months, so we knew things were probably close to completion. Still, it’s hard to overstate how important this is for Apple and its sales numbers for at least the first quarter of 2014 (if not the second too).
China Mobile has more than 760 million subscribers. And very soon all of them will be able to officially get iPhones. And these will support both 4G LTE and 3G on the network. That’s unlike the more than 40 million iPhones already to be found on China Mobile today, all of which can only get 2G (EDGE) speeds from the carrier because they don’t support its flavors of 3G and 4G. These have been ‘unofficially’ imported and sold on the grey market to eager China Mobile customers.
The Apple smartphones will be available for pre-reservation on December 25, which is two days from now as you may know. Sales will begin on January 17. The Chinese New Year is on January 31. And before that there’s a crazy shopping season in China akin to what we’re accustomed to naming the “holiday shopping season” of November-December in other parts of the world.
So Apple will benefit from this too. Coupled with the boom that’s expected to come simply because of the iPhones now being officially available on China Mobile, expect Apple’s Q1 to be record breaking. It’s unclear at this point whether the Cupertino company will manage to take over the No.1 smartphone maker position from Samsung (though it probably won’t), but for Apple itself sales records should go down once it has its wares on the world’s biggest carrier.