“BEIJING and CUPERTINO, California—December 22, 2013—Apple® and China Mobile today announced they have entered into a multi-year agreement to bring iPhone® to the world’s largest mobile network. As part of the agreement, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available from China Mobile’s expansive network of retail stores as well as Apple retail stores across mainland China beginning on Friday, January 17, 2014.
January 17 seems to be an auspicious date.1
Precisely a year prior to that date, on January 17, 2013, I wrote The iPhone MOQ.
Within that post I showed the activation rates for US operators as a percent of total users. Figures ranged from 10% to 19% by year or operators. I further assumed the figures would be toward the high end of that in Japan based on statements by the president of NTT DoCoMo.
The last phrase I used was:
“The MOQ figure as percent of subs for China Mobile would also be an interesting point of debate.”
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.