Assuming that the iPhone/China Mobile agreement is finalized before the end of 2013, analysts have been quick to chime in with estimates regarding how such a deal will affect Apple's iPhone sales and the company's bottom line.
AllThingsD was able to aggregate a number of analyst responses to the rumored iPhone/China Mobile deal. Here's what they found.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster anticipates that iPhone sales on China Mobile may reach 17 million units in 2014. ISI analyst Brian Marshall, meanwhile, is much more optimistic about Apple's prospects on China Mobile, anticipating sales of 38.7 million units in 2014. Lastly, analyst Brian White from Cantor Fitzgerald anticipates Apple will sell anywhere between 20 and 24 million units.
While it remains to be seen just how well the iPhone does on China Mobile, it's hard to argue that the economic impact of such a deal is anything but huge. With over 740 million subscribers, China Mobile has more subscribers than the United States has people. What's more, more than 10% of all the world's population is a China Mobile subscriber (think about that for a second). That's the type of opportunity that now stands before Apple.
Now there's no disputing that a large percentage of China Mobile subscribers won't be able to afford an iPhone. Nonetheless, the pool of subscribers on China Mobile is so large that when we zero in on the number of subscribers that can, in fact, afford an iPhone, we're still left with a sizeable pool of potential customers.
Ben Thompson over at Stratechery put together this informative and impressively simple chart illustrating this very point.
Put simply, when your starting point is 740 million, even a small percentage yields a sizable number.
Lastly, take note that Apple has not yet confirmed that a deal has been finalized. While the WSJ report from yesterday relayed that it was a done deal, Reuters this morning ran a quote from China Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei who said that the two company's are still in the midst of negotiations.