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China Mobile's iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C Set For December 18?

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China Mobile's iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C Set For December 18?

China Mobile (NYSE: CHL) could receive Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) latest smartphones in less than a month.

According to The Wall Street Journal, China Mobile will launch a new brand for its mobile services on December 18.

The carrier did not say which brand would be offered, nor did it say anything about the specific model. But China Mobile already sells a large number of popular smartphones. The iPhone is perhaps the only one it does not currently offer, prompting some to believe that the December announcement will involve Apple.

This is not the first time that investors got their hopes up for a deal between Apple and China Mobile. Over the summer there were numerous reports claiming that the Chinese carrier had inked a deal to sell the next iPhone. When those reports proved to be false, Wall Street was very disappointed.

Year-to-date, shares of China Mobile are down more than 11 percent. The company has recovered from its second quarter decline (at which time China Mobile plummeted more than 12 percent) but has yet to return to 2012 levels.

While an iPhone deal could do wonders for China Mobile's stock, it could be even more important to Apple.

Related: iPhone 5S Sales To Rise, iPhone 5C Sales To Plummet

Analysts have continually told investors that China Mobile is essential to Apple's future. As the world's largest carrier, China Mobile has the potential to introduce the iPhone to 700 million additional customers.

Most of them will not be able to afford the iPhone's high price. But if Apple could convince just one percent of those customers to buy an iPhone by the end of the March quarter, it would sell an additional seven million units (one percent of 700 million = seven million).

That might seem like a small increase compared to the millions of iPhones that Apple has sold overall. But on a quarterly basis, a seven million unit increase would be huge.

During the March quarter in 2012, Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones. During the March quarter in 2013, the company sold 37.4 million iPhones.

If investors were to assume that Apple's small (but significant) growth would continue with or without a China Mobile deal, the company should sell between 38 and 39 million iPhones during the March quarter in 2014. With a China Mobile deal (and one percent of its customers), iPhone sales would jump to 45 or 46 million units, setting a new March quarter sales record for Apple.

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 louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple china mobile iPhoneNews Rumors Success Stories Tech Media Best of Benzinga

 

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