Can China Mobile Boost iPhone Sales?

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) reports third-quarter earnings July 22 and Wall Street projects impressive results driven by strong iPhone sales with the support of China Mobile's (NYSE: CHL  ) 4G expansion. The Cupertino, Calif., company plans to release larger-screen iPhones later this year, which could sway new and existing 3G customers to China Mobile's more profitable 4G services. The success of China Mobile's 4G network could drive pent-up Chinese demand for Apple's iPhone 6 devices in the second half of the year.

Will Apple beat Wall Street estimates?
The Street forecasts Apple to earn $1.23 per share and revenue of $38 billion for the June quarter. Investors will keep a close eye on the number of iPhone units sold, which represents Apple's main source of revenue and gross margin. Apple sold 43.7 million iPhone handsets last quarter, raking in $26.06 billion in revenue, or 57% of total net sales. The Street estimates iPhone unit sales to reach 35 million, an increase of 12% from 31.2 million units sold a year ago.

Investment banks and funds have raised Apple's price target ranging from $102 to $115, or $714 to $805 pre-stock split. Source: CNN Money.

Apple's gained 60% over the past 12 months on strong financial earnings and speculation on the arrival of new smartphones, tablets and computers. The company sports a solid financial position, with a hefty cash balance and low debt levels in comparison to industry averages. Apple has seen constant revenue growth across all geographical segments on a yearly basis, predominantly in Greater China and Japan where sales hit double-digits.

China Mobile's 4G network could further boost iPhone sales
Apple's largest growth opportunity lies in China, where the company's iPhone has grown popular among Chinese consumers. Greater China, including mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong became Apple's third largest market with annual revenues of $25.4 billion. Apple expects Greater China to contribute strong sales numbers going forward as China Mobile advances its 4G network.

China Mobile is using iPhone to draw premium subscribers to its 4G services and recover customers lost to telecom rivals China Unicom and China Telecom. Although 4G customers currently account for approx. 1% of the company's 787.3 million subscribers, they supply about three times annual revenue per user, or ARPU, compared to other customers. China Mobile wants to bring 50 million subscribers to its 4G network by the end of this year through cost competitive 4G data plans.

Chart illustrates the number of new 4G subscribers per month. China Mobile launched 4G services in January, shortly after receiving its 4G license in December 2013. Source: China Mobile.

China Mobile will spend about 41.7 billion Yuan ($6.7 billion) developing 4G technology this year, and roll out more than 500,000 4G base stations, which will cover 340 cities in China. Research firm Canalys forecasts shipments of 140.10 million smartphones with 4G in 2014, and 230.90 million and 318.50 million for the next two years, respectively. China Mobile's aggressive 4G push aims to capitalize on the expected 4G adoption growth.

China Mobile has sold more than 12 million 4G smartphones and plans to sell 100 million 4G smartphones by the end of the year. When China Mobile had 1.34 million 4G subscribers in February, Xi Guohua, the company's Chairman, revealed that most of those 4G users used an iPhone. If a portion of these 100 million smartphones belongs to Apple, the  giant would further distance itself from Samsung in the higher-end of the Chinese smartphone market and see revenues swell in the region.

Bottom line
Investor sentiment over Apple stock has risen after the record-setting March quarter. Coupled with the earnings beat, Apple executives introduced a $90 billion share repurchase, a dividend raise and a 7-for-1 stock split, which all renewed retail and institutional interest in the company's common stock. Apple's growth in China through China Mobile's 4G network could enhance earnings for the second half of the year. With the release of the larger screen iPhone 6 models later this year, pent-up iPhone demand in the China marketplace could benefit Apple and China Mobile's top and bottom lines.

Apple will report third quarter earnings on July 22 after the closing bell and hold a conference call to discuss financial results at 5:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. PT.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 3032255, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/28/2014 11:44:42 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement