It finally happened: Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will soon be available from the world’s largest wireless carrier, China Mobile. Apart from an immediate end to all of the speculation, which we certainly appreciate, the deal means big money for both Apple and China Mobile as the latest iPhone models will soon be sold directly to China Mobile’s 763 million subscribers — or, at least a potentially healthy portion of its 181 million 3G subscribers. How much money is the deal worth to Apple? According to one industry watcher, the China Mobile agreement is worth as much as about $13 billion in additional revenue in 2014 alone.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White on Monday morning issued new research to his clients covering the China Mobile deal and its implications. According to White, there is already strong demand for iPhones among China Mobile subscribers and it’s about to get stronger.
“Despite not having an official agreement with China Mobile before Sunday night’s announcement, we estimate there are 35-40 million iPhone users on the network at China Mobile,” White wrote. “Our visits to China Mobile branches, resellers and an Apple Retail Store this weekend in China highlighted that China Mobile is offering the iPhone 5S (and iPhone 5C) to customers; however, the new iPhones are only available on the 2.5G/2G network, but this will clearly change given Sunday night’s announcement.”
Moving on to some figures, White believes that Apple will sell between 20 million and 24 million iPhone handsets through China Mobile in 2014. Using Apple’s current estimated average selling price of $525 for the iPhone in China, that would mean up to an additional $12.6 billion in revenue. According to White, the deal will add an additional $4 to Apple’s EPS in calendar 2014, or nearly $3.6 billion in profit.
White reiterated his Buy rating on Apple shares with a $777 price target.