Apple's iPhone 5c might be the roadblock in front of the deal with China Mobile, that will give Cupertino access to 750 million subscribers, and expected sales of 100 million 4G smartphones going forward. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities estimates that sales of the midrange iPhone 5c are lagging estimates, which had given China Mobile an ace in the hand to negotiate better subsidy deals with Apple, that's why a deal announcement is dragging for so long.
China Mobile was expected to announce the official arrival of the iPhone 5s on its network this week, but it reneged in the last minute, saying that there's no news coming out. "We believe that weak sales of iPhone 5C may trigger a re-negotiation of the Apple-China Mobile partnership," notes the analyst. "However, the indications are that the deal is nearing an end. While recent market speculation calls for the deal to boost 1Q14 iPhone shipments to 45-50mn units, we think this is overly optimistic." Overall, it seems that China Mobile has found a weak spot in Apple with the iPhone 5c shipments, and is exploiting it to the max.