China Mobile: 400,000 Unlocked iPhones On Our Network
by Dan Frommer – Silicon Alley Insider
EXCERPT: An eye-opening stat we hadn’t seen until today: China Mobile, the biggest wireless carrier in China, said there were 400,000 unlocked iPhones operating on its network at the end of 2007.
If true, that represents more than 10% of the 3.7 million iPhones Apple (AAPL) sold last year. Market research firm In-Stat, which included the stat in an email newsletter today, said that total was four times what they had previously estimated. That helps explain where many of the “missing” iPhones have wound up.
Full article > HERE
The hunger for iPhone (Ai Feng) in China is so strong that unlockers are willing to:
· Pay a premium (USD $250 to $500 above retail to own a hacked iPhone)
· Own a non-warrantied iPhone
· Forego visual voicemail
· Forego regular software upgrades that would otherwise ‘brick’ a ‘jailbroken’ iPhone.
What this massive unlocking in China shows is that there is a very strong demand in China (Captain Obvious award). And this demand will only accelerate once the new 3G iPhone is officially launched in China.
As one astute iPhone owner put it …
“Would you want a hacked, non-warrantied iPhone you couldn’t run a software update on? If the choice was that, or wait a few months (when iPhone officially arrives in your market), I’d choose ‘wait’ easily. I think 97% of folks want to just walk in a store, buy an authorized iPhone and use it normally – warrantied with updates … even if it means switching carriers.
I think we are just getting a tiny percentage % of advance sales from tinkerers, hackers etc., and from the folks willing to pay a premium, take risks, and have bragging rights. Guess what, this same demographic will all want the Apple 3G iPhone the second that it’s available as well.”
… “I can’t see this as anything but a good sign about insane demand, worldwide.”