updated 02:30 am EDT, Wed September 23, 2009
Two year contracts available with 8GB, 16GB iPhone
Chinese mobile phone provider China Unicom is expected to begin selling the iPhone next month. Users will be tied to a two year contract with a $27 (186 CNY) monthly charge and can purchase either the 8GB iPhone for $293 (1,999 CNY) or the 16GB version for $439 (2,999 CNY). The telecommunications company believes it will sell more than five million iPhone units over a three year period, according to the China Times.
The Chinese mobile phone market is currently the largest untapped market for the iPhone with approximately 687 million subscribers. When compared to the 270 million subscribers in the US, an entry into the Chinese market could signal potentially large profit margins.
China Unicom recently stuck an official iPhone deal, but the contract is not exclusive. However, a move from Unicom to China Mobile, the country's largest cellphone carrier is unlikely -- such a move would require a new model iPhone compatible with the company's TD-SCDMA broadband format.