Is Apple close to a deal?
The much anticipated announcement about the iPhone's entry into China could come as soon as this Friday, according to a report from Reuters.
The report cites an unidentified analyst who says a distribution agreement could be announced when China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) announces its financial results for the first half of the year.
Unicom, long tipped to be Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s handset partner in China, ended July with more than 141 million GSM customers and is currently building out its WCDMA-based 3G network. (See Unicom Enters Third Phase, An O for an I?, and China Unicom Plans Massive Capex Hike.)
Talk of the impending announcement comes as wireless industry analyst house Strand Consult publishes a report that suggests "the iPhone is not the customer magnet that many have been claiming."
China Telecom revenues boosted by mobile
China Telecom has reported revenues of 102.55 billion Yuan Renminbi (US$15 billion) for the first half of 2009, up 14.8 percent compared with a year ago. However, its net profit, at RMB8.4 billion ($1.23 billion), is down 27.5 percent.
The carrier ended June with 199.4 million fixed access lines, 9 million fewer than at the end of 2008, and just more than 49 million broadband customers, up nearly 4.8 million from six months ago.
It ended June with nearly 39.3 million mobile customers, having added nearly 11.4 million new CDMA lines during the first six months of the year. Mobile services accounted for revenues of RMB16 billion ($2.34 billion), or 15.6 percent of total sales, during the first half of 2009.
China Telecom, previously a fixed-line operator only, inherited China Unicom's CDMA business as part of last year's market restructuring, and has set itself a target of 100 million mobile customers by 2011, by which time it aims to generate 35 percent of its revenues from mobile services.
The operator says that, at the end of July, it had built out its CDMA EV-DO 3G network in 342 cities around China, and is focusing on new applications development to help stimulate mobile data and value-added services usage. It launched its 3G services in April and, according to this Reuters report, had signed up 1.3 million 3G customers by the end of June. (See China Telecom Offers 3G Video, Baidu Wins 3G Deal, Artificial Life Wins in China, and China Telecom Turns On EV-DO.)
Other recent news of note from China includes:
- Reliance Takes Silk Route to China
- China Telecom Uses AlcaLu Routers
- China Mobile Turns Up VAS Heat
- Accelink Spikes in IPO
- Mobile Market Moves ZTE
- Moto Completes China TD-LTE Trial