Poor iPhone 5c Sales May Have Stalled China Mobile Deal [Analyst]

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Investors and other interested parties may have an explanation for Apple’s M.I.A. deal with China Mobile — and that explanation could be lower-than-expected iPhone 5c sales.

That’s according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who suggests that this is the reason a deal between the two parties has yet to be finalized.

Reportedly the original intention was for the iPhone 5c to account for 30 percent of iPhone sales on China Mobile’s network (and Kuo himself speculated that the 5c and 5s were likely to sell in equal numbers), although he now notes that he has revised his figures, and estimates that Apple will ship only 1-1.5 million iPhone 5c units in the current quarter.

This means that Apple would sell “just” 15-20 million iPhone handsets to China Mobile customers in 2014: a drop from the consensus estimates of 17 million — or around 10 percent of China Mobile’s existing 178 million 3G customers.

While Kuo’s explanation would make sense of the delay, however, he notes (and watchers of the China Mobile deal can sing along by this point), “We believe a deal is nearing completion”.

  • Adrayven

    Thats a dead horse Analysts just don’t want to let go of isn’t it? They are determined to say the 5c is a fail..

  • CIntos

    Speculation vs facts: Fkisu’s iOS penetration tracker has been monitoring iOS product’s penetration since initial rollout. http://www.fiksu.com/iOS-7-iPhone-5s-5c-Usage-Tracker

    In the category of iPhone, Fkisu reports that after 90 days of 5C and 5S rollout, 9.70% of all iPhone users their SDK tools track are on the 5S. The iPhone 5C is reported as having a 3.61% share. These facts suggests a ratio of 5S to 5C of 2.6:1, which is better that the 3:1 or 4:1 that some pundits are suggesting.

    Note: “Data sampled hourly in batches of approximately 10M events from apps using the Fiksu SDK. These events include app launches, in-app purchases, and registrations, and are filtered to count unique devices. “

  • Luxlamf

    I can see 5c sales being poor, it’s still far too expensive to considered a entry phone (something that keeps many people from buying iPhones, they can buy several garbage phones over several years before getting to the price of an iPhone) I was passing a apple store the other day and thought “MY GF needs a new phone, I will get her a 5c” Unlocked 5c is still $600, am I getting her a Contract phone blah blah blah for $99? no, i have no idea who she is with or her status with her provider etc.. I wanted to get her what I thought was a “Inexpensive iPhone”, it’s not.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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