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China Mobile 4G adoption continues to be driven largely by Apple's iPhone

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
About half of all of the 2.8 million 4G subscribers on China Mobile's network are iPhone users, giving Apple a strong position as the world's largest wireless provider looks to expand its high-speed mobile presence.

China Mobile


China Mobile CEO Li Yue revealed his company's latest figures this week, according to rthk.hk, noting Apple's continued success since it launched on the carrier earlier this year. The figures do not include iPhone users who might not be on the carrier's fledgling 4G network.

Though it is the world's largest cell phone provider with some 780 million customers as of last month, China Mobile was late to the high-speed LTE game, and is working to catch up with rivals China Telecom and China Unicom. Most of its customers remain on slower 3G networks, as China Mobile finished 2013 with 417 million 3G users. Apple's iPhones are compatible with both China Mobile's 3G and 4G networks.

The number of 4G subscribers on China Mobile has steadily grown while Apple has maintained its position as the most popular LTE smartphone offered by the carrier. The company revealed in March that it had 1.34 million 4G users.

China Mobile's 4G figures don't tell the whole story, however, as the LTE network covers only a small portion of mainland China's biggest cities. Customers outside of China Mobile's 4G footprint must purchase an iPhone outright or with a 3G contract.

Apple's hotly anticipated deal with China Mobile was made official earlier this year when the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c became officially available through the carrier. Analysts have forecast that the arrangement could add 5 percent to Apple's total revenue in 2014.
post #2 of 12
"780,000" ?

780 million [fixed]

... and 2.8 million 4G subscribers seems very low, even at this early stage of the game.
Edited by island hermit - 5/22/14 at 7:22am
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post #3 of 12
This article is quite anomalous because as everyone knows, Apple is doomed.

/s
post #4 of 12

So a China Mobile customer who purchases an iPhone 5S, for example, in a city where 4G has not yet been rolled out would not be counted in these numbers.  The customer is presumably buying the iPhone to use on 3G and in anticipation of being able to use it on 4G once 4G service arrives in his area.  But that iPhone sale, made today and not being used on 4G and so not counted in these numbers, will suddenly be counted once 4G comes online in that city.  So these numbers are a lagging indicator, representing only that portion of sales occurring in 4G active areas.

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Never own anything that poops. - RadarTheKat
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I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
Never own anything that poops. - RadarTheKat
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post #5 of 12
Let me translate this article into pedestrian parlance please:
"Samsung Samsung cry cry cry"
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

"780,000" ?

780 million [fixed]

... and 2.8 million 4G subscribers seems very low, even at this early stage of the game.

If I'm reading the article (and assuming all translations are good)

 

1.34 Million in March

2.8 Million in May (assume 8 weeks)

200K  customers a week are switching/upgrading to 4G.  

that's 52Million a year.

on the part of the China Mobile's Geography that is 4g Enabled.

 

If you assume a 4 year lifespan (2 for original owner, 2 for next owner/child)... and 1/2 of China Mobiles people are in 4G space... every year China Mobile will see 175 Million new phones, of which 1/2 half are in the 4G space (88M)...

 

52 Million (60% uplift rate) a year is probably right for the luddites who like their 2G and 3G phone sets and just repeat buying the same model.

If China is like the US (and it isn't I know), then you typically buy lowest common denominator.   I still use a 4s, because even though my town is a very fast LTE (my wife's iP5 is my tether in the car;-), I travel a lot in the 'light blue' areas of the ATT network, and '4G' and '3G' are most common.

If China Mobile is just now rolling in LTE, one can imagine what their rural areas are for coverage, given their their income distributions (Even in sparsest Iowa... there is usually one Millionaire Resident (in land value, and/or annual revenue) every 2 square miles,and if needed, can get someone to put a tower on her property to (and then get rent to boot), to get LTE locally)

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 

1.34 Million in March

2.8 Million in May (assume 8 weeks)

200K  customers a week are switching/upgrading to 4G.  

that's 52Million a year.

on the part of the China Mobile's Geography that is 4g Enabled.

 

Wouldn't that be 10.4 million a year?

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

This article is quite anomalous because as everyone knows, Apple is doomed.

/s

absolutely. I've completely thrown in the towel and have the nails ready for the coffin. Questioning if it's time to sell my positions because all the recent news as been just so horrible for Apple. (cue the discreet snickering)

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by thompr View Post
 

Wouldn't that be 10.4 million a year?

 

Yes... it would be.

 

... and that seems very low considering that I would assume CM's initial rollout would cover at least 1%, or 7.8 million, of its subscriber base.

 

I guess CM is taking the really really slow route.

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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post
 

 

Yes... it would be.

 

... and that seems very low considering that I would assume CM's initial rollout would cover at least 1%, or 7.8 million, of its subscriber base.

 

I guess CM is taking the really really slow route.

I suspect that CM has two different tiers of service (at least) with two different prices and contract terms.  I speculate that the LTE service is probably more exclusive, and the uptake may be slower.  Meanwhile, lots of people are also buying iPhones to run with 3G contracts on CM.  It's my thought that these slight numbers on the LTE side are not representative of the iPhone's overall progress on CM.

 

Thompson

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by thompr View Post
 

I suspect that CM has two different tiers of service (at least) with two different prices and contract terms.  I speculate that the LTE service is probably more exclusive, and the uptake may be slower.  Meanwhile, lots of people are also buying iPhones to run with 3G contracts on CM.  It's my thought that these slight numbers on the LTE side are not representative of the iPhone's overall progress on CM.

 

Thompson

 

I agree. I was only talking about CM's 4G numbers.

 

(I read one report that states 44 million iPhones are already owned by CM subscribers... and this was before the 4G rollout)

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post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post
 

 

I agree. I was only talking about CM's 4G numbers.

 

(I read one report that states 44 million iPhones are already owned by CM subscribers... and this was before the 4G rollout)

 

Well the the complicated rollout of service across a large nation coupled with a small fraction of people able to afford the service should naturally result in low subscriber uptake.

 

Meanwhile, the lion's share of those 44 million iPHones on CM are most likely older handsets that are not compatible even with CM's 3G service, therefore running in a terribly handicapped mode.  Those people must really love their iPhones, but many don't have the $$$ to buy a newer one.

 

I would like to know how many of the truly compatible (5S and 5C) iPhones have been sold recently for use on CM's 3G and 4G networks.  That would provide a more accurate description of how the deal with CM has worked out.  I think that it's a pretty fine number... much higher than the 1.4 M suggested by the 4G stats, but much lower than the 44 M you just quoted.

 

 

 Thompson

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