Apple roundup: China Mobile, subsidies, FQ2/FQ3 expectations

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

4 months after launching 4G services and 3 months after beginning 4G iPhone (AAPL -0.1%) sales, China Mobile has announced it only had 2.79M 4G subs at the end of Q1.

One caveat: Not all of China Mobile's iPhone sales necessarily go to subs signing up for 4G services. China Mobile announced last month it added ~1M iPhone users and 1.34M 4G subs in February.

The WSJ takes a look at the efforts of U.S. carriers to lower subsidy spend, in part by offering discounts to consumers forgoing subsidies. AT&T's Randall Stephenson: "The industry is at a place where you can actually see line of sight to the subsidy equation just fundamentally changing in a very short period of time."

Apple's newest iPhones are typically subsidized by ~$450 by U.S. carriers in exchange for 2-year contracts. Tim Cook mentioned in January a shift by U.S. carriers to a hard 24-month wait between subsidies hurt FQ1 iPhone sales.

Expectations are low ahead of Wednesday's FQ2 report. Canaccord's checks suggest iPhone sales slowed in April due to competition and iPhone 6 anticipation. Also, UBS has cut FQ2/FQ3 iPhone estimates on concerns of weaker China Mobile and U.S. sales, and the consensus is for iPad sales to be flat to down Y/Y.

At the same time, many expect a dividend hike to be announced, and hopes are high for the iPhone 6. Susquehanna's checks lead it to think Apple is asking for 20%-30% more capacity from suppliers relative to the iPhone 5 and 5S launches.