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Apple's Unannounced China Mobile Deal Has Disappointed Wall Street (AAPL, CHL)

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Investors were all but certain that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) had finally secured a deal with China Mobile (NYSE: CHL).

When the company's iPhone event came and went without a peep about China Mobile, Wall Street began to wonder: were the rumors false?

On its surface, this did not make much sense. All the other rumors turned out to be true. Apple unveiled two iPhones, one that was cheaper and made of plastic and another that featured a fingerprint scanner that could change the way people shop online.

If those rumors came true, how could the China Mobile deal -- the most important carrier agreement Apple could possibly secure -- be nothing more than speculation?

Investors glossed over the announcement that the new iPhones will be available through Japan's largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo (NYSE: DCM). With a subscriber base of more than 60 million customers, the NTT DoCoMo deal could be huge for the Mac maker.

Related: iPhone 5 Trade-Ins To Soar On September 20

China Mobile, on the other hand, has amassed a subscriber base of more than 750 million individuals. The company is easily the largest cellular carrier in the world.

According to CNNMoney, Apple has been given the necessary licenses needed to run its devices on China Mobile's network. The licenses expire on February 28, 2014. If a China Mobile deal is announced in the coming weeks, Apple will only have a few months to sell its devices before the license will need to be renewed.

Apple is also trying to cash in on India, the world's fastest-growing smartphone market. It may not have as many existing smartphone subscribers as China, but it represents another way for Apple to increase iPhone sales.

On a quarterly basis, Apple continues to set new records. During the fiscal 2013 third quarter, Apple actually topped most analysts' estimates by selling 31.2 million iPhone units -- five million more than anticipated.

That growth proves that the iPhone brand is still very strong worldwide.

But it was not enough to keep the stock from dropping roughly five percent Wednesday afternoon. For better or worse, some investors are holding out on the illusive China Mobile deal.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple china mobile iPhone iPhone 5 iPhone 5C iPhone 5S Mac NTT DOCOMONews Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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