China Unicom began commercial trials of its WCDMA 3G network in 55 Chinese cities on May 17. By year-end China Unicom plans to expand 3G coverage to 284 cities. Read more details on the China Unicom launch via JLM Pacific Epoch (<link).
Many had surmised that an “official” iPhone China could be announced on May 17 (World Telecom Day and China Unicom’s 3G launch), but iPhone was not on the day’s agenda and China Unicom executives had no details to share over the much rumored iPhone distribution deal. While this was disappointing to some, iPhonAsia is confident that an official iPhone in China deal announcement will be forthcoming in a matter of weeks.
Now that May 17 has been crossed off the “dates to watch” list, the calendar watch turns to:
- Monday, June 8 – WWDC Keynote, a logical venue for iPhone hardware unveilings and the “China deal” announcement.
- Late June or early July – Piper Jaffray’s analyst Gene Munster suggested timeframe for new iPhone hardware unveiling. Munster speculates that Apple may host a special event to showcase the new iPhone 3.0. This might also be the right moment to announce the iPhone in China deal. If Munster’s timeline is correct, then Steve Jobs might very well be on stage to greet some special guests from China.
For readers looking for a succinct overview, Philip Elmer De-Witt has a good summary of the impending iPhone in China deal on Apple 2.0. For more in depth background, read > Apple’s iPhone in China Negotiations.
One other item to note… iPhone Asia continues to read reports in the press that claim Apple has declared that iPhone won’t arrive officially in China until 2010. These reports are simply wrong and reflect lazy journalism. Read the facts > HERE