Late last month, we reported that Apple and China had been negotiating an iPhone deal. The deal would allow Apple to offer the iPhone on the largest mobile carrier in the world. Rumors had suggested that the iPhone would be made available on China Mobile on March 9th. Turns out, those rumors turned out to be true.
Today, China Telecom launched the iPhone 4S, which makes them the second carrier in the country to officially offer the iPhone for sale. With its 129 million mobile subscribers, this is a huge opportunity for Apple and this makes the carrier the largest carrier to offer the iPhone on a CDMA network.
M.I.C. Gadget has a nice overview of the launch events, and reports that China Telecom had announced a greater-than-expected 200,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4S. Preorders for the iPhone 4S on China Telecom had only been available for a week, as the carrier began taking order on March 2nd.
The carrier offers many monthly plans for the iPhone 4S. The 16GB model is offered for free on plans as low as 389 yan ($62) per month for a two-year contract or 289 yuan ($46 per month for a three-year contract.
Last week, it was reported that Apple had once again become the world’s largest smartphone maker. Turns out this was due to the fact that Apple sold 37 million iPhones last quarter alone! Now, Morgan Stanley believes that Apple will partner up with both China Telecom and China Mobile “over the next year” to make its iPhone available on all three Chinese carriers. That may not sound amazing, but what does is the fact that Morgan Stanley believes that the company will be able to sell up to 40M iPhones in China alone in the next calendar year. This means that Apple could soon sell as many iPhones in China as it sells in the rest of the world combined!
Remember, Apple sold 37 million iPhones last quarter worldwide, but this estimate is for one country alone. Analyst Katy Huberty suggested the huge untapped potential for the iPhone in China. According to her, Apple can only possibly reach 10 percent of the 150 million “high-end Chinese subscribers” in the country through its current partnership with China Unicom. Last year, Tim Cook said that Apple was only “scratching the surface” in China. She says that she sees a base case of 26 million incremental iPhone sales in China during the 2013 calendar year with the addition of China Mobile and China Telecom. Her bull case suggests 40 million units for an increase of $10 in earnings per share.
The analyst also suggests that if Apple sees a 20 percent penetration of China Mobile’s subscribers as the company has reached with China Unicom, the iPhone maker would be able to sell 24 million handsets on China Mobile alone next year. Due to the fact that 3G and smartphone penetration in China is “increasing at a fast clip” she believes that the company could sell as many as 36 million units on China Mobile in 2013.
In China, China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier, and offers service to an estimated 120 million high-end subscribers who pay more than 100RMB ($16) a month. The final 10 percent of high-end subscribers are on China Telecom, the third-largest carrier in China.
I’m trying to think of another company that is expected to sell as many phones in China as it sells in the rest of the world combined. Anyone?
Motorola and China Telecom have gone ahead and announced the Milestone 3 (XT883). The Motorola Milestone 3 is the non-American version of the yet to be announced Droid 3. Both the phones are exactly the same, except for the different radio antenna.
As rumors earlier suggested, the Motorola Milestone 3 sports a dual-core OMAP processor running at 1GHz, and packs a disappointing 512MB of RAM. The handset also sports a 4-inch qHD (960×540) display, with a five-row slide out QWERTY keyboard.
The back of the Milestone 3 packs an 8MP camera with an LED flash, which is capable of recording videos in full HD 1080p resolution. There is also a front facing VGA camera for video calls and chat. Other key features of the phone include Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS with A-GPS, 16GB internal memory, microSD card slot, proximity sensor, 3.5mm audio jack and a micro-USB port.
Thankfully, unlike other recently announced Motorola handsets, the Droid 3 runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a new version of MotoBLUR.
The Milestone 3 (XT883) will be available from 3rd quarter of 2011. Sadly, Motorola and China Telecom did not mention anything about the pricing of the handset.
The Milestone 3 is also expected to hit the Verizon’s network under the name of Droid 3, sometime next month.