It's official: Apple, China Unicom strike 3-year deal

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Following weeks of speculation and false reports, Apple and China Unicom have finally hurdled the Great Wall for a three-year deal to sell the iPhone.



Multiple reports have confirmed the agreement on behalf of both China Unicom and Apple. According to The Wall Street Journal, the carrier will offer two versions of the iPhone in the fourth quarter of 2009. As expected, the device will have its Wi-Fi capabilities disabled, as required by government regulations.



China Unicom also plans to launch its 3G network on Sept. 28 in anticipation of the iPhone's debut. The nation's second-largest carrier has an estimated 141 million subscribers, and the state-owned provider will offer 3G access to start in 285 cities, expanding to 335 locations before 2010.



Officials declined to reveal the price of the device, but The Associated Press reported the iPhone was set to sell for a "competitive" price. Previous reports that China Unicom had agreed to pre-purchase 5 million phones were again denied. The report cites analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as saying the phone will likely sell with two-year service contracts for between $99 and $299, as they do in the U.S.



"Apple's talks with potential Chinese carriers had snagged on disagreements about how to share revenues, according to Chinese news reports," the report states. "But (a China Unicom official) said the companies will not share revenues, with Unicom instead buying the phones in batches from (Apple) and offering them with subsidies."



There are still questions whether the Chinese will even be interested in the iPhone. The Journal cites estimates that 1.5 million "underground," hacked and unlocked iPhones are already in use in China. And it also notes that the nation's character-based language doesn't always integrate with user interfaces developed for other countries.



"This definitely opens up a a window for Apple to get into this tremendous market," said Edward Yu, chief executive at Analysys International, a Beijing-based technology research firm, told The Associated Press. "But we still need to see the real product to determine whether this will play with the mainstream China population and how the market reacts."



The new model of the iPhone was given government regulatory approval for use on the China Unicom network in July. That device is a GSM/WCDMA iPhone that operates on the 900MHz, 1700MHz and 1900MHz bands.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    Hopefully, these iPhone deals being struck don't start a iPhone monopoly for Apple. Only time will tell.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    There is nothing wrong with a monopoly if it is earned and not abused.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThatSoCALguy View Post


    Hopefully, these iPhone deals being struck don't start a iPhone monopoly for Apple. Only time will tell.



  • Reply 3 of 39
    petermacpetermac Posts: 115member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    There is nothing wrong with a monopoly if it is earned and not abused.



    not to mention, that we are a VERY long way from being a monopoly, so far, in fact we should even be discussing it
  • Reply 4 of 39
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    With no WiFi available the Chinese should be particularly strong in 3G coverage. Having in mind their territory and the degree of development of rural areas, will they really stand it? Risky investment... Although, with dozens of millions of iPhones sold, none of that matters anymore...
  • Reply 5 of 39
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThatSoCALguy View Post


    Hopefully, these iPhone deals being struck don't start a iPhone monopoly for Apple. Only time will tell.



    What in the world does this mean? If you don't know what a monopoly is, why are you worried about it?
  • Reply 6 of 39
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post


    With no WiFi available the Chinese should be particularly strong in 3G coverage. Having in mind their territory and the degree of development of rural areas, will they really stand it? Risky investment... Although, with dozens of millions of iPhones sold, none of that matters anymore...



    You can be certain that the rural coverage of 3G will be slim to none. But, keep in mind that 285 cities in China could comprise a much larger population that it might sound like at first. Assuming the largest cities in the country, I would imagine much more population than an entire European country. I didn't look it up, but it wouldn't be that hard to do...



    If the iPhone is appealing to them and the cost is right, this could be huge!
  • Reply 7 of 39
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    You can be certain that the rural coverage of 3G will be slim to none. But, keep in mind that 285 cities in China could comprise a much larger population that it might sound like at first. Assuming the largest cities in the country, I would imagine much more population than an entire European country. I didn't look it up, but it wouldn't be that hard to do...



    Absolutely. But I still worry - though much less - about connectivity options even in their cities.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    If the iPhone is appealing to them and the cost is right, this could be huge!



    I have some doubts about virtually everything in this statement.

    Firstly, iPhones are not so popular in developing countries, and China is not sufficiently far from developing countries in its status, alas. The price matters there; $100 are quite a money.

    Secondly, any connectivity problems may cause the serious customer dissatisfaction. And in this particular case, I regret to say, this dissatisfaction has strong chances to be actively supported at the level of officials.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThatSoCALguy View Post


    Hopefully, these iPhone deals being struck don't start a iPhone monopoly for Apple. Only time will tell.



    I don't think that word means what you think it does.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    Does that open the door for a possible GSM/WCDMA iPhone in North America?



    And in the process, possible new carriers.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    piotpiot Posts: 1,346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post


    Absolutely. But I still worry - though much less - about connectivity options even in their cities.



    I have some doubts about virtually everything in this statement.

    Firstly, iPhones are not so popular in developing countries, and China is not sufficiently far from developing countries in its status, alas. The price matters there; $100 are quite a money.

    Secondly, any connectivity problems may cause the serious customer dissatisfaction. And in this particular case, I regret to say, this dissatisfaction has strong chances to be actively supported at the level of officials.



    I have some doubts about virtually everything in your statement.



    Do you think that Apple and China Unicom might just know a little bit more than you?

    Rim started selling Blackberrys in China two years ago!



    I see that you are in France .....

    China has more millionaires than France



    Stop your trilling!







    (Trill = mild Troll)
  • Reply 11 of 39
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    sic !
  • Reply 12 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Following weeks of speculation and false reports, Apple and China Unicom have finally hurdled the Great Wall for a three-year deal to sell the iPhone.



    Weeks? More like months.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    I don't think that word means what you think it does.



    Was going to pick on the obviously-uninformed use of the word 'monopoly' too, but you already did (and yours was funnier).
  • Reply 14 of 39
    Now I know why there are no iPhones available at all in Europe, new iPhones probably don't even leave China.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThatSoCALguy View Post


    Hopefully, these iPhone deals being struck don't start a iPhone monopoly for Apple. Only time will tell.



    There will ALWAYS be an 'iPhone monopoly for Apple'.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    g5mang5man Posts: 91member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    There will ALWAYS be an 'iPhone monopoly for Apple'.



    Bingo. LIke they have for the iPod.



    Give it 5 more years they will own the smart phone market. Lower price points and more carriers combined with amazing improvements will result in a true monopoly started by the iPhone.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    There will ALWAYS be an 'iPhone monopoly for Apple'.



  • Reply 18 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post


    The price matters there; $100 are quite a money.



    I have a friend in Shenzhen (South China) and she bought a mobile phone that would cost about $550 USD. Someone stole it from her purse. Another friend in Shenzhen recently purchased a condo for about $1200 USD per month. Now, these are only 2 in over 1 billion, but using them to say... the middle-class in China is growing extremely fast and a lot of people have expendable money these days. I've been there, they are building A LOT of really nice and apartment/condo buildings there for this middle class.



    There are A LOT of poor people in China, but not everyone is walking around with lint in their pockets either. $100 USD is not as much there as some may think. On average Chinese save a lot more than Americans/Westerners, they are big on investing and savings. I was just there this summer and another friend spent several hundred in USD while I was there with ease.



    And the 285 cities getting 3G coverage, most sizable cities have between 6-18 million people in each. So, keep that in mind and times that by 285 for potential buyer numbers. If just 5% of those buy an iPhone - you are talking about 5 million give or take a few mill.



    Chinese aren't buying all those cars and investing in oil for nothing, people have money to spend now. If the iPhone sells for $100-300 USD there, trust me, a lot of people can definitely afford it if they want.



    Huzzah Apple.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    Wireless in the Pac Rim is usually better than in the North America and Europe



    Main reason is the 'developing' countries never had a wired infrastructure to deal with so nearly 100% of their investment goes to Wireless.



    They probably have better service in 3G in rural areas of China than AT&T does in New York (From what I've heard )
  • Reply 20 of 39
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post


    I have a friend in Shenzhen (South China) and she bought a mobile phone that would cost about $550 USD. Someone stole it from her purse. Another friend in Shenzhen recently purchased a condo for about $1200 USD per month. Now, these are only 2 in over 1 billion, but using them to say... the middle-class in China is growing extremely fast and a lot of people have expendable money these days. I've been there, they are building A LOT of really nice and apartment/condo buildings there for this middle class.



    There are A LOT of poor people in China, but not everyone is walking around with lint in their pockets either. $100 USD is not as much there as some may think. On average Chinese save a lot more than Americans/Westerners, they are big on investing and savings. I was just there this summer and another friend spent several hundred in USD while I was there with ease.



    And the 285 cities getting 3G coverage, most sizable cities have between 6-18 million people in each. So, keep that in mind and times that by 285 for potential buyer numbers. If just 5% of those buy an iPhone - you are talking about 5 million give or take a few mill.



    Chinese aren't buying all those cars and investing in oil for nothing, people have money to spend now. If the iPhone sells for $100-300 USD there, trust me, a lot of people can definitely afford it if they want.



    Huzzah Apple.



    You should re-read my post. $100 (the price of iPhone) were considered in developing country context.

    China was not called developing country in my post. Strictly speaking, it is not. It is emerging market, newly industrialized country, etc.



    Do you know what the difference with developed countries is? People from there don't bring spending hundreds of dollars as a proof of what ever it may be.

    We discuss features of Apple products.
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