Apple could be boosting the global appeal of the iPhone 5 by offering it to China Telecom, the country's state owned telecom company.
Apple is a popular company in China. Its so popular people took the time and effort to create fake Apple stores in various parts in the country. When the white iPhone 4 was released in May, there were nearly riots. The country has burgeoned entire market of iPhones, sold without a subsidized contract. It has inked deals with China Unicom, a big carrier. Each of Apple's big releases has warranted huge lines.
With that being the case, Apple's presence in China could be getting much bigger. According to Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, Apple will imminently offer the iPhone 5 on China Telecom's network.
White cited Chinese website Sohu.com, which said two Apple phones will be offered on China Telecom's network. There will be the iPhone 5 and then a mini iPhone, which is more affordable and comes with less features.
"Essentially, this potential 'Simplified iPhone 4' would be a more economical version of iPhone to target a broader customer base in developing countries such as China, allowing for an expanded market opportunity," White said in a note to investors.
With 108.4 million subscribers or 12 percent of the country, this would be a huge opportunity for revenue growth. White predicts China Telecom represents a $30 billion revenue opportunity for Apple. On the high end iPhone 5, he says there is an $8-9 billion revenue opportunity.
According to White, opportunity in China is still in the "early stages." Considering how popular Apple has been in China already, this thought is actually kind of crazy.
White is reiterating a buy rating of Apple and has a price target of $666. Apple's shares are currently trading at $386.23, down 1.61 percent from the beginning of the day.
The iPhone 5 is expected to do big business for Apple. A recent PriceGrabber survey indicated 35 percent of consumers wanted to buy an iPhone 5 sight unseen.
"Our survey data confirms the strong following Apple has built around its iPhone, with more than one-third of consumers planning to upgrade to the latest model only a little over a year following the release of the iPhone 4," Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber, stated.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman recently raised his estimates for Apple's sales of the iPhone. He also lifted his price target for the company to $465 from $450. This is because of the impending release of the iPhone 5.