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back to article Apple won't bag HUMUNGOUS 4G deal... 'cos China HATES plastic iPhone 5C – analyst

Apple has failed to ink a lucrative 4G deal with humungo cellphone carrier China Mobile due to poor demand for its plastic iPhone 5C, a leading analyst has claimed. The world's largest mobile carrier has already launched a 4G LTE network, which was widely anticipated to coincide with the announcement of a long-anticipated deal …

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Bronze badge

"forced Apple to renegotiate its 4G deal with Apple" - that must have been a heated discussion with themselves... does anybody read their articles before publishing? The BBC has also started making glaring mistakes in their online content, standards slipping.

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Another analysts guess based on no data ... no news here then.

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Or you could send a correction...

Notice the link at the top of this page that says, "Send Corrections"

You could've just submitted it there instead of posted publicly.

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Silver badge

"Another analysts guess based on no data ... no news here then."

Spot on, the latest data is showing 5C sales are picking up nicely.

From what I have read, I strongly suspect the hold-up is more simply a battle of wills over a single important issue of business principle rather than being a simple matter of meeting on percentages. China mobile want a cut not just of sales of the handset, but of Appstore revenue and Apple have said, that's none of your business and we're not discussing it. China mobile are probably under the impression pressure will build on Apple as time goes on and they will cave. I expect there is an entry on the terms sheet saying Appstore revenue and followed by a percentage figure. I expect Apple have simply been returning the term sheet with that line struck out and that is where the negotiation has stalled.

A different cultural/market perspective could well be contributing to the impasse. China mobile being immersed in the Chinese market, see Android as a defining force and think it will be putting pressure on Apple. Apple, not being interested in the low end or even low to middle of the mid-range, don't see need to pay homage at the church of market share. China mobile will have thought pressure was building at about the point the Samsung 4S was launched, as it seemed like Apple were being marginalised globally and will have thought they just needed to wait. But in reality there is a more subtle dynamic and Apple's grip of the high-end market has been strengthening and that is the market where most of the profit is (all other handset manufacturers other than Samsung have combined profit share in negative numbers). Apple have in fact been continuing to make strong gains *in the market they want.* In Japan for example, after they shook on the NTT DoCoMo deal, they now have 75% share of the market, and whilst China and Japan are obviously very different, there is less difference when you are looking just at the high end segments of the market Apple are interested in (it is just a significantly smaller share of the entire market in China). Additionally the proportion of 5C sales has been increasing steadily (all the latest data in fact contradicts what this analyst is saying).

If I'm right about the reason for the impasse, China mobile may realise where Apple are coming from and agree the deal, or maybe they will continue to be confident Apple will have to cave them because of the value of the Chinese market to them. And on the other hand of course, perhaps Apple will cave, after all, there is no place for dogged principles when you're just talking about percentage shares of revenue even when there is a principle at stake for where that revenue is taken from.This is hardly big moral principles to be defended here; it isn't an arms deal. It's about making money.

I can't help but think this stand-off is actually highly symbolic of the global power struggle between the US and China. If the deal is concluded because Apple caves on such an issue, it's a symbolic moment. The only problem is, we are unlikely to get precise confirmation of the reason for the dispute or details of the agreed terms for years.

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Anonymous Coward

Easy to come out with headline grabbing statements, without any verification.

The iPad will fail

The iPad mini is no good

IPhone 5S being beaten at every turn

Just more speculative rubbish to get published.

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Deluded Appleholics Don't Get It!

We're talking about a market and a carrier that don't really care about one phone brand, when they have literally 100's of phone brands for sale in their own store. One brand.... Samsung with 22% China market share, has been growing even though they are a foreign company. HTC is also growing market share in China and have recently been taking greater market share than Apple yr over yr.

Whereas Apple's share has actually shrunk over the last year and they are for all intents and purposes going through stagnating market share in about all markets Worldwide. I don't call around 5% market share in China for the year to date that great. Now they've only pushed that up to a possible 7% on the year by one banner quarter (December). That ain't exactly earth shattering growth!

Especially when in all reality you must take into account they were..... above 10% last year in China Market Share. The real wrench in the works for Apple in China, has to do with the fact China Mobile refuses to subsidise phone brands off their customer's backs. But they offer the best coverage, best rates and now the Fastest connections of any carrier in China. In a market that primarily goes for Cash n Carry plus Pre-paid plans, you can't expect them to change much just because they may be offering iPhones on Contract in their store.

Because the Chines people don't want to be conned into paying more for services just to get a more expensive phone.... CHEAPER! hahaha..... They know contracts are like Fingerhut or every Apple inspired Infomercial hawking the fantasy of getting something for nothing with timed payments. Chinese aren't as dumb as every other consumer addicted to Apple's Chairman Mao Suit Cloned iPhones for the Masses! ........"hey I got an iPhone and you don't hahaha....", and the that person answers laughing, "yeah.... but iDiots all look the same and I can't tell you apart for who is the Greatest Deluded Appleholic Fool!!!" ;-P

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Glad to hear...

...that the Chinese can tell a rubbish deal when they see one...

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Re: Glad to hear...

Must have happened when they opened it up and saw Made In China inside it.

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jai
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shocker!

Analyst's earlier claims haven't come true. So analyst makes different claim instead.

Wake me up when there's detail from someone who actually know anything about what's really happening, rather than some schmuck in a suit being paid to guess.

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Re: shocker!

I bet that so called analyst feels pretty dumb today (Mon) as Apples China Mobile deal is now all over the press.

Lets hope the morons gets his ass fired. Not that Im an apple fanboi just hate stoopid analysts.

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plastic

The term 'unapologeticallyplastic' still makes me want to shove an iDevice in SirJonny's face.

I appreciate this will not go down well with many and down votes are mandatory. Knock yourself out. I have a hangover and will not feel your keyboard beating.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: plastic

JUST OUT OF CURIOSITY, DOES THE MENTAL ASSOCIATION AND PERCEPTION OF SHOUTING PRODUCED BY TYPING ALL IN CAPS STILL FEEL UNPLEASANT WHEN YOU HAVE A HANGOVER? :-)

NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT, IF THE ANSWER WAS "YES", IT WOULD SAY SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING ABOUT PSYCHOLOGY...

Anyway, AFAICT, the problem with the 5C is that- even disregarding whether one likes its pastickiness- it's perceived as being little better than its predecessor and overpriced for what it is, even against the more expensive but better-specced 5S. There's no reason the Chinese should feel differently about that to any other market...

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Re: plastic

Kudos for bringing Sir Joni's responsibility for the plastic cover up of iPhone 5c to our attention. People forget he's the one that called that shot and since he supposedly hates plastic, coming out and claiming to have reinvented it really makes him look dysfunctional as a design engineer. Let alone him at first taking the credit for iOS 7's look n feel, until it got the Lisa Frank Design for teen girls tag applied to it. Notice he immediately had Apple move that blame to the real 22yr old designer responsible for it! lol.....

As for "Plastic" as some kind of bad word describing anything made with man made materials other than metal as cheap and junky is just plain wrong. Some forms of aluminum are cheaper and it's made from one of the most plentiful metals on the planet. There are forms of Plastic that cost many times more and Apple has no Plastic R&D spending to account for Apple's claim of "Plastic Reinvented".

The truth is that there is only one Electronics Giant in this World and that's Samsung. They use Plastic.... mainly because they own a 60yr old Plastics company in Cheil Chemical. Which supplies the majority of plastics used in many other products including Luxury Automobiles that aren't exactly CHEAP!

The same Infino Brand PC (polycarbonate) that goes into the resins that make up most carbon fiber products are also used in the Galaxy Note 3's more Leather Look n Feel back cover, than the CHEAP PU vinyl plastic Apple uses in it's $80 iPhone Covers!

In fact Samsung supplies their Infino Brand PC that went into making the Bugatti Veyron's transparent removable roof. Which isn't exactly Cheap either! .....in fact I don't think cheap die cast aluminum (sort of metal only) would be called that great of quality in that use or even serve the design purpose well. That's why I call "Rubbish" on the claim all metals are better quality than all "Plastics" for all purposes. They're just plain not even close. The presumption that just because Apple was using aircraft aluminum in making some parts of iDevices has now shot itself in it's own foot. So they simply can't change the image of Plastic when they don't even spend the R&D money to develop it better like SAMSUNG does!

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, consumers are kicking Apple's teeth in with this rank amateur ploy of trying to make their Plastic better in the face of the FUD and Misinformation they've pumped out to kill the competition for using it. Apple? It ain't working! :DDD ......especially in China!

But..... Plastic used to serve a purpose other than to somehow cheapen up a device so you can continue to charge more for supposed higher quality iPhone 5s was wrong from the start. Samsung uses plastic not because it's cheaper (which apparently it's not), but because their Plastic is far more durable, flexible, flame resistant, break resistant, colorable or transparent, scratch resistant, protective of internals, designed to specifically address the needs of consumers, replaceable, removable and doesn't dent, ding or break the more important hardware inside. Metal being better is an illusion and otherwise it's far inferior in serving designed for looks instead of designed to use like Samsung Products!

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Anonymous Coward

Jasper's clearly getting desperate for page views today. Rack up those numbers before the Xmas break, eh Jasp?

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If the Chinese hate plasticky phones

then how are the majority of other phones going to sell then?

What a load of old cock (to quote James May)

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Anonymous Coward

Why do people start their comments in the subject line?

" If the Chinese hate plasticky phones then how are the majority of other phones going to sell then?"

By being low-priced phones whose plasticky cases are excusable due to their being cheap, perhaps?

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The only reason I can see that the analyst might be right

Is if Apple & China Mobile had been discussing a deal with x number of iPhone 5C sales and y number of iPhone 5S sales guaranteed (similar to how some other Apple/carrier deals have reportedly been structured)

If the 5C is selling less than expected, they might worry they'd have trouble selling enough. One would think however, if that's the case, that Apple would be totally fine with saying that excess 5S sales can substitute for lacking 5C sales. They would after all make more money that way.

I suspect though it is just another analyst making up stuff to explain why he was wrong when he and everyone else said it was a "done deal" last week!

There are reportedly some 25 million iPhones on China Mobile's network already - running at EDGE speeds! - so there is clearly a segment of China Mobile customers willing to pay full price for an iPhone. Maybe Apple doesn't need the deal. So long as they sell a model capable of TD-LTE China Mobile's customers can buy it if they want it. I'm sure they'd sell more of them if China Mobile promoted them itself and subsidized them, but if Apple has to give up too much it isn't worth it. Not so much for what they'd have to give up to China Mobile, but what they might have to give up to other carriers who will want a similar deal.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The only reason I can see that the analyst might be right

We'll probably see a deal on Christmas Eve or early in the New Year - there now I should be an analyst.

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Silver badge

Re: The only reason I can see that the analyst might be right

Don't forget you are talking about China where Christmas Eve isn't much different from any other Tuesday night. Let's call "early in the New Year" some time around Chinese New Year but certainly not during the period where China seemingly stops for a bit.

Either way, it will probably be when they settle on a 5S/5C ratio somewhere between 50/50 and 100/0. Maybe Apple could do a deal before Chinese New Year if all the 5C units were red with a gold 福 on the back.

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@Anon 22:24

The deal was announced on the 23rd in China, you were off by one day.

Sorry, you hit that way too close to become an analyst!

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This negotiation has been going on for years, and is effectively with the Chinese government. Apple's planned roll out of stores across China has been more or less suspended, presumably because of it. Apple is indirectly a major employer in China. Foxconn has just done a deal with Blackberry that can begin to change the power balance between Western brand and Chinese assembler, as happened with PC's. Apple has started building PCs in the USA again after 25 years or so. Robotics are changing the balance of costs between east and west. This negotiation is a reflection of bigger issues.

Apple's high prices and tight control of the user relationship made Verizon, Docomo and China Mobile stay away. But they steadily lost subscribers to smaller carriers with an iPhone deal. Verizon and Docomo have capitulated. Large though China Mobile is, Apple won't scrap their business model just to get a deal. And for China, January is the crucial date, not December, when product is needed, and Apple might have some spare capacity.

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Blackberry??

How is a deal with a dying company that will have sub-1% market share in a year if current trends continue going to change the power balance compared with Foxconn's existing relationship with Apple, who has nearly 10% of the worldwide mobile market share by volume, and over a third by revenue?

Apple would like to have a deal, and the analysts think they need a deal (because: growth) but I don't think they need a deal. Neither does China Mobile, maybe if they think Apple is too difficult to deal with they can let their customers buy iPhones for full price to use on their network. There are already 20 to 30 million iPhones running at Edge speeds that were paid full price. I can't imagine a new model capable of TD-LTE speeds is going to be anything but a success, just not as big of a success as it would be if they had a deal and China Mobile offered subsidies and displayed the iPhone in their stores.

Apple loses some sales due to lack of carrier promotion, China Mobile loses some lock-in on their customers not getting them on a subsidy plan, so it isn't like they don't both have a downside if there's no agreement.

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Anonymous Coward

Why buy the C over the S

The Chinese don't tend to spend money frivolously. Surely the 64bit model has at least two years of extra usefulness, over the 5C. It's simply better value than the unapologetically plastic model. Those who can't afford the 5S may as well aim for a decent, mid range Android phone. In the Chinese market, both Huawei and ZTE, will gladly oblige.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

Apple has just announced the deal with China Mobile

so much for this analyst ...

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Sorry, Apple and China Mobile is a done deal

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2013/12/22China-Mobile-Apple-Bring-iPhone-to-China-Mobiles-4G-3G-Networks-on-January-17-2014.html

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Buying iPhones from the Chinese manufacture for 1 dollar and selling it back for a shit load of money, is this the Chinese economic plan?

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Another Journo who did not buy any Apple shares then.......

I am surprised the inaccuracy of this copy altogether, is there no editor to this publication?

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