China Mobile poster leak suggests iPhone launch on tap

|About: China Mobile Limited (CHL)|By:, SA News Editor

A Chinese-language site (translation) has leaked an image for a China Mobile (CHL +0.5%) poster advertising the iPhone 5S and 5C (AAPL +0.6%). The posters make note of the 5S/5C's support for CHL's TD-LTE 4G network.

One source tells the site sales could start in November, following testing in September/October.

The WSJ reported on Sep. 6 Apple is getting ready to ship iPhones to China Mobile, and Chinese regulators recently gave the iPhone a green light to run on CHL's network (unofficially, many of the carrier's subs already use iPhones, courtesy of grey-market purchases).

IDC estimates the iPhone only had a 5% share of the Chinese smartphone market in Q2, thanks in part to its premium pricing in a market where per capita GDP (in absolute dollars) is a little above $6K. Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) is assigned an 18.3% share, and local Android vendors Lenovo (LNVGY.PK), Coolpad, ZTE (ZTCOY.PK), and Huawei shares of 12.6%, 11%, 8.8%, and 8.7%, respectively.

Also: IDC thinks smartphones with 5"+ displays will account for nearly 20% of 2013 Chinese sales, and 50% of 2017 sales. Apple, which has faced growing calls to offer a larger iPhone, is reportedly thinking of offering phones with displays ranging from 4.8"-6".