updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon August 31, 2009
China iPhone not exclusive
The fresh China Unicom iPhone deal is not an exclusive one, an Apple spokeswoman has confirmed. The deal was cemented only after months of negotiations, and a series of hurdles including revenue sharing demands, and government restrictions on Wi-Fi. Unicom also faced pressure from China Mobile, the country's largest cellphone carrier, which was simultaneously trying to secure a contract.
The openness of the Unicom arrangement may allow both carriers to sell the iPhone, in a region with millions of potential buyers, despite the relative poverty of most of the public. It is thought though that Unicom may remain the only official iPhone vendor for some time, as it is the only local carrier that supports the device's WCDMA broadband. China Mobile relies on TD-SCDMA, an incompatible format which would require a new model, on top of Unicom's special variant that disables Wi-Fi.