That’s not a bad start for the world’s largest wireless company, with 700 million subscribers. But how many units can they eventually move? The consensus, if one exists, seems to be around 13-16 million iPhone 5S and 5C sales for China Mobile this year. Horace Dediu came up with a slightly higher estimate:
My assumption would be that CM would start at a base significantly lower than the US or Japan. I would not be surprised to see an MOQ of 4% of user base for 2014. In the press release above China Mobile states that they serve 760 million customers. That implies a minimum order of about 30 million iPhones.
In the absence of any other data it’s best to be conservative.
Notice he’s calling that 30 million figure “conservative.”
If Dediu is right and the consensus is wrong, the biggest restraint on China Mobile’s iPhone sales might be FoxConn’s ability to assemble enough of them.