Blog Post

China Mobile adds 1.34 million users, led by Apple’s iPhone

China Mobile just posted its first profit decline in years, but Apple(s aapl) is not to blame. Of the carrier’s million-plus new mobile subscribers in February, about one million of them are iPhone users, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“We added 1.34 million new 4G users in February and most of them are iPhone users. We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities,” China Mobile Chairman Xi Gouhua told the Journal.

That’s certainly not bad news for Apple, but it’s a little lower than expected. Some analysts were anticipating yearly sales as high as 17 million units, which doesn’t look likely to happen at this point.

These lower-than-expected sales aren’t entirely surprising. After all, China’s “4G” network is still in its infancy, and the iPhone is an expensive device. It’s still possible for sales to pick up in the future, though, especially as 4G access spreads, and Apple’s access to the carrier’s 760 million subscribers is only a good thing.

4 Responses to “China Mobile adds 1.34 million users, led by Apple’s iPhone”

  1. Mr Furley

    I’m amazed by most of the articles written and the analysts disappointment about the February sales. The CEO clearly stated the sales pertained to new 4G users and that the the service was limited to a few cities. Did the analysts not base their estimates off of the availability of the network? I think it’s safe to say that they are adding more than 1.4 million users “overall” to their network a month. So who knows how man iphones were actually sold in February. The CEO did state back in January that millions of iphones were preordered!

    • Michael Davias

      RobPaul: I do hope you use your “expectation” to short the stock. Us longs will all be the happier. Availability of 4G in February was limited to only 20 out of a planned 300 4G cities this year. I might point out the the iPhone 6 will likely be available for many months in FY2104.

      Long Live “Most of them”.

  2. “But it’s a little lower than expected…”

    Actually, it is phenomenally better than anyone imagined.

    The takeaway from this event should not be “1.34 million new 4G users in February”. It should be “most of them are Apple”. Analysts have consistently limited their estimates of Apple’s China Mobile sales to 10% or less. However, 4G is the best and fastest service available and most buyers are buying iPhones when they contract for it.

    China Mobile has estimated they will have 50 million new 4G users in 2014.

    If most of those are iPhones, it is a blowout beyond all previous expectations!