China Mobile, the largest carrier in China, might be suffering by not offering the latest iPhone 5 to customers. According to Evercore Partners’ analyst, China Mobile’s 3G market share was down 7 percent year over year to end 2012 at 37 percent. The company’s chief competitors, China Telecom and China Unicom, combined for a 7 percent gain to land at 63 percent. Apple has for years been trying to woo China Mobile. The carrier currently has approximately 700 million subscribers across China, dwarfing its closest competitor, China Unicom, which has 236 million subscribers, and creating a potentially huge opportunity for Apple. However, China Mobile and Apple have been unable to come to terms. But for now, the world’s largest mobile phone operator (by subscribers) could be starting to need the iPhone more …
China Mobile has been in talks with Apple since 2009. A snag in making the deal happen is that China Mobile uses a TD-SCDMA network that’s incompatible with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. And although that issue can be overcome somewhat easily, the business model and benefit sharing still need further discussion before both parties can sign a deal. It’s been rumored that China Mobile wants a cut of the revenue Apple generates through its App Store on all China Mobile customers. Apple has never offered such a deal to other carriers. Given that China Mobile’s 3G market share is declining, Apple likely holds more bargaining power now, the cupertino will probably squeeze a satisfactory deal out of China Mobile this year. And if it does manage to do that, China Mobile could provide Apple with a 16 million iPhone opportunity in its first full year.
SOURCE: All Things D
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