"We believe that weak sales of iPhone 5C may trigger a re-negotiation of the Apple-China Mobile partnership," KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a recent investor note. "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."
The latest surveys conducted by the analyst have shown that demand for a TD-LTE iPhone 5c has dropped 'dramatically' over the past weeks. Subscribers are more interested in the iPhone 5s. Kuo pegs TD-LTE iPhone 5c shipments at 1-1.5 million units in Q4 2013 and less than 1 million in Q1 2014. This is apparently well below Apple's estimates and could be why China Mobile didn't announce a deal with the company as previously rumored.
Despite the hold up, China Mobile has placed ads on its site inviting customers to pre-order the iPhone and stores have already begun promoting the device. Kuo is predicting the partnership will generate 15-20 million iPhone unit shipments in 2014 and 20-30 million the year after.