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CHINA MOBILE’S IMPACT: After weeks of rumours and leaks, this past weekend Apple finally announced an agreement with China Mobile, by far the world’s largest wireless carrier. China Mobile has 760 million subscribers. Verizon, the largest U.S. carrier, has 101 million retail subscribers. The success of the iPhone is dependent on the continuing rollout of China Mobile’s 4G service. The carrier’s 3G services are known to be nothing to write home about. China Mobile says its 4G will expand from 16 cities to 340 cities in 2014.
BI INTELLIGENCE FORECAST — CHINA MOBILE WILL SELL 18 MILLION iPHONES: Analyst estimates cluster around 20 million iPhones on China Mobile in 2014. At BI Intelligence we’re in agreement with consensus. We believe China Mobile can move 18 million iPhones. That’s because 40 million China Mobile customers are already using iPhones on China Mobile’s 2G (these are iPhones brought over from other carriers, or bought unlocked), and perhaps 8 million of them might upgrade to the iPhone 5 or to a new China Mobile-sanctioned handset next year. Also, China Mobile already has ~160 million 3G subscribers, people who can afford very pricey handsets and higher data costs. One-fourth of these might be switching phones in 2014, and even if only 20% of them choose iPhones — Apple’s current smartphone platform share in China — that still adds another 8 million. Factor in another 2 million China Mobile customers new to the iPhone, and that brings China Mobile sales to 18 million in 2014. For comparison, U.S. carrier AT&T activated 20.6 million iPhones in 2012.
AN INCREDIBLE COMBINATION: Here’s how China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua is describing the deal: “We know there are many China Mobile customers and potential new customers who are anxiously awaiting the incredible combination of iPhone on China Mobile’s leading network. We are delighted that iPhone on China Mobile will support our 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA networks, providing customers with high-speed mobile service.”
** You may also want to read more BI Intelligence coverage of China Mobile —
China Mobile Deal Offers The iPhone A Fighting Chance Against Android’s Surge —
China’s Mobile Ecosystem [SLIDE DECK] — China’s Shift To Cheaper Android Smartphones Points To An Uphill Climb For The iPhone
In other news …
THE TOP 10 IN-STORE MOBILE MARKETING CAMPAIGNS: The year’s best in indoor mobile marketing. It’s a good list to read alongside our new report on beacons, the technology that promises to revolutionise how businesses and consumers use their phones indoors. (Mobile Commerce Daily)
**Click here to read our new report on BEACONS.
The hidden world of jailbreak groups and their partnerships with Chinese app stores: One of the bonuses of an official deal with China Mobile is more control over the Chinese iOS landscape, and an ability to tamp down on jailbreaking, which is when users override the operating system to install their own unsanctioned software. TechCrunch looks at one jailbreak group.
A BETTER ANDROID? CyanogenMod, which was in the news with a big $US23 million round of financing, is already on over 10 million Android devices. CyanogenMod is developing a customised version of Android that’s hoping to lure users to it by doing away with a lot of the gunk that carriers and phone manufacturers tend to load onto Android phones. (Android Police)
LEAK: More Apple news: A leaked memo penned by Apple CEO Tim Cook mentions “big plans” for 2014 that “customers are going to love.” That has set the tech press rumour mill turning. What is it? An Apple iWatch? An Apple TV set? An iPad pro? (Business Insider)
A LATIN AMERICA-BASED APP STORE: Movile, a Brazil-based app platform, has launched a new app store where it hopes developers can upload apps that they’d like to see carriers and manufacturers pre-load on phones. In Latin America, like in many emerging markets, manufacturers and carriers have a lot of power, so it makes sense for developers to market their apps through them, rather than going directly to customers on the app stores. (Movile)
INDIA E-COMMERCE GROWS: Indian e-commerce site Flipkart has sold $US217 million worth of stuff in one year, and is on course to hit $US1 billion in sales in 2015. The company has a significant mobile presence, with a dedicated mobile site and apps for Android and Apple. (Tech In Asia)
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