China Mobile has received 100,000 in pre-orders for the Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in two years according Brian Blair, an analyst with Wedge Partners. Apple and China Mobile announced a partnership on December 22nd. China Mobile said that they would be offering the two new iPhones on January 17th. Although 100,000 pre-orders sounds like a respectable number, Blair and other analysts were expecting the numbers to be higher.
China Mobile has around 760 million subscribers so that 100,000 figure is a fraction of their total customer base. This past September, China Unicom saw around 120,000 pre-orders for the iPhone and China Telecom hit around 150,000. China Unicom and China Telecom have much less subscribers.
“What’s important to remember is these phones launched in September,” stated Blair in an interview with AllThingsD. “Now here we are several months later and there’s no subsidy being offered that’s so special that the preorders are off the charts. If this had been in September when the phone launched globally, I think the numbers would be a lot higher.”
China Mobile is offering around the same subsidies as China Telecom and a little bit higher than China Unicom. This is why consumers in China are not switching to China Mobile from the other two carriers.
These numbers are not final since it came from one analyst. The actual numbers should be revealed next month. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is projecting that China Mobile will sell as many as 17 million iPhones next year, which is around 2% of their subscriber base.