28 Aug 2009 08:03

China Unicom to announce iPhone deal with Apple this afternoon

By Cindy Geng

Beijing. August 28. INTERFAX-CHINA - China Unicom and Apple Inc. will announce that they have inked a deal regarding the iPhone release in China on the afternoon of Aug. 28, according to a China Unicom source, despite an Aug. 27 China Unicom announcement denying that any final agreement has been reached.

"China Unicom signed a contract with the Apple delegation earlier this month and if everything goes as planned, the results will be revealed this afternoon," the China Unicom source, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

China Unicom and Apple have agreed to an October release of the iPhone 3G with 8 gigabytes (GB) of memory at the retail price of RMB 2,500 ($365.75), which will require subscribers to enter into a two-year service contract with a minimum RMB 186 ($27.21) monthly service fee, according to the source.Despite earlier reports, the source said that retail prices for the iPhone 3G with 16 GB of memory, and the iPhone 3GS with 8 GB and 16 GB of memory have not yet been settled on.

Meanwhile, there are plans to release a Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone to the Chinese market as a result of discussions between the Apple delegation to Beijing in August with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the source said.

Currently, all the iPhones slated for release in October are made specifically for China, with the Wi-Fi function disabled.

"China Unicom headquarters has been very cautious about releasing information regarding the iPhone deal, as it is still possible that the iPhone sales plan will undergo adjustments. Headquarters will file a final notice regarding the iPhone's retail pricing and marketing plan three days before the launch date, which is still unknown at this time," the source said.