Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) long-rumored deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) may be just around the corner, according to one analyst’s sources. Wedge Partners analyst Jun Zhang believes that China Mobile will release several versions of Apple’s iPhone as early as next month, reports Investor’s Business Daily.
“We believe China Mobile will launch four iPhone models in November, including 5S and 5C. The current procurement is very small, about 200K-250K units. We expect China Mobile will launch more [4G] smartphones in 2014,” wrote Zhang in a note to investors.
Zhang’s prediction appears to be in line with a recent report from China’s Sina Tech website. According to Sina Tech, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology minister Miao Wei recently stated that 4G licenses will be issued before the end of this year. Although the TD-LTE versions of Apple’s iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C have already been approved for use on China’s networks, MIIT has yet to issue 4G operating licenses to the country’s carriers.
A recently leaked image of a China Mobile poster that advertises Apple’s new iPhones with support for both 3G and 4G networks also seems to indicate that the world’s largest carrier is on the verge of announcing a distribution deal with Apple. However, both China Mobile and Apple have yet to officially confirm any deal.
According to Wedge Partners, China Mobile’s 4G network could include as many as 60 million users by 2015. Although Apple already has distribution deals with China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA), China Mobile has over 740 million subscribers and is widely considered to be an essential key for Apple’s future growth in the overall Asian market.
Here’s how Apple traded on Friday.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)