News by Dan Seifert on Tuesday January 31, 2012.
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Investment bank Morgan Stanley recently released a report that claims that Apple could possibly sell as many as 40 million iPhones in China in 2013 if it is able to launch the device on multiple carriers. Currently, the iPhone is solely available from China Unicom, but it has long been rumored that Apple is in talks with the country's other big carriers, China Mobile and China Telecom, to bring the iPhone to their networks.
Morgan Stanley is hinging its predictions on Apple's next iPhone supporting the necessary network frequencies and technologies (TD-LTE) to work with China Mobile. The firm thinks that the next iPhone will be revealed in the third quarter of this year, and that it could launch on China Mobile in late 2012 or early 2013.
Ignoring the unverified predictions of what Apple's next smartphone will support, it's hard to argue against the fact that China still remains a largely untapped market for Apple. Morgan Stanley noted that China Mobile, the largest carrier in the country, has 120 million subscribers that pay more than 100RMB (US$16) per month for their cell phone service (considered "high-end" customers), as opposed to the 15 million high-end subscribers on each of China Unicom and China Telecom. To put that in perspective, China Mobile has more potential iPhone customers than AT&T or Verizon Wireless have total customers in the U.S.
Morgan Stanley predicts that China Telecom will get the iPhone before China Mobile, but that is expected to happen within the next few months. A launch on China Telecom could easily add 2 to 4 million sales to Apple's bottom line before it even attacks China Mobile. [via Apple Insider]
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.