During a briefing with media this week, China Mobile's chairman, Xi Guohua, said the company had already received "several million" pre-orders for iPhones before they went on sale in the company's stores.
In a note to clients, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he expected Apple to raise its guidance for the current quarter by 2% when it reports earnings later this month.
"We believe the 'several million' pre-orders is a positive read for China Mobile iPhone demand and gives us greater confidence in our expectation for 3 million iPhone units from China Mobile in March," he wrote.
During his visit to China this week, Cook expressed excitement about the new partnership and what it would mean for Apple. While China has become one of Apple's most important markets outside the U.S., the company has also seen its market share there slip against stiff competition from lower-priced Android phones.
"I can tell you that last quarter we sold more iPhones in Greater China than at any time in our past," Cook said in Q&A session Wednesday with media in China. "And I think with what we're announcing today, I see a huge barrier being removed, because there are lots of people that love China Mobile's network and love iPhones and those two spheres are finally coming together, so it's a monumental day and a watershed announcement."
While some critics have wondered whether Apple's phones will be priced competitvely, Cook reiterated that the company was not focused on the number of phones it sells.