The gains come even though China Mobile has responded to the WSJ's report by stating it's "still negotiating with Apple." The world's biggest carrier has long been rumored to be driving a hard bargain with Apple, which itself has plenty of experience on that front.
As is their custom, analysts have been firing up their spreadsheets to estimate the impact of a China Mobile deal. Uber-bull Brian White thinks the deal could yield 20M-24M additional iPhone sales in 2014, boosting EPS by $4. Gene Munster is a little more cautious, forecasting 17M 2014 sales, as is Pac Crest's Andy Hargreaves, who sees only a $2 2014 EPS boost.
Munster notes that while 16GB iPhone 5S and 5C respectively cost $846 and $718 unsubsidized in China, China Mobile has an estimated unsubsidized smartphone ASP of $270 (Verizon, by contrast, is at $449). The rising popularity of large-screen smartphones in China could also act as a headwind (at least until Apple launches one of its own).