Analyst: China Mobile Needs an Apple Shot

China Mobile’s (NYSE:CHL) 3G subscriber growth is suffering because of a lack of deal with Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, according to an analysis by Topeka Capital’s Brian White.

What Does China’s Wireless Market Look Like?

White found that even though China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, has a total of 707.3 million subscribers, or 64 percent of the market in China, it only has 82.4 million 3G customers, or 37 percent of the country’s 3G users. Tellingly, the share has fallen from 41 percent a year ago. By comparison, both China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU), which carry the iPhone, saw their 3G subscriptions double year-over-year.

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“China Mobile is the only major carrier in China that does not have a relationship with Apple to sell the iPhone,” White wrote in his note, according to Apple Insider. “We still expect Apple and China Mobile to announce an agreement for the iPhone in 2013.”

What is in Store for the Future?

The total number of 3G subscribers in China reached 222 million in November, up 88 percent year-over-year, pointing at the fact that the country remains a vital market for companies like Apple and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

White also predicted that 3G subscriptions in China would reach 230 million just by the end of this year on the back of the iPhone 5 launch and grow to between 325 million and 350 million by the end of 2013. In 2011, China only had 127.5 million 3G subscribers, showing just how rapid the growth has been.

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