Apple and China Mobile have reportedly been in talks to get the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on store shelves. It would be a huge deal for Apple – inking a contract with the world’s largest wireless carrier in a market it needs to increase its presence in – but apparently poor sales of the iPhone 5c are damaging negotiation efforts.
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently published a report in which he said he believes Apple and China Mobile may have to re-work their agreement, particularly due to decreased demand for the iPhone 5c and a greater interest in the flagship iPhone 5s. That could explain why all was quiet on Dec. 18, the day The Wall Street Journal said China Mobile was expected to announce the deal.
“We believe that weak sales of the iPhone 5c may trigger a re-negotiation of the Apple-China Mobile partnership,” Kuo explained in a note obtained by AppleInsider. “However, the indications are that the deal is nearing an end. While recent market speculation calls for the deal to boost 1Q14 shipments to 45-50mm units, we think this is overly optimistic.”
Kuo believes Apple will ship a total of about 38 million units during the first quarter, moving about 24 million iPhone 5s units and 6 million iPhone 5c units, while still selling 7 million older iPhone models.