China’s Oriental Morning Post is jumping into the iPhone rumor mill. In a report today the Post reveals that China Unicom is in the midst of intense iPhone promotion/distribution planning. The Post reports that the new iPhone model for China will retail for 2,000 CNY ($293 USD) for subscribers who choose a data-plan + multi-year contract. This subsidized price would be 1,000 CNY below the reported (yesterday’s unverified rumor) 3,000 CNY ($440 USD) that China Unicom will pay to Apple for each unit. The Post notes that there will be other plan options that further reduce iPhone’s retail price. The Post sites “Shanghai Unicom*insiders” who provided information on condition of anonymity.
China telecom industry analyst, Kim Yun-Hung Chen was also interviewed for the Post report. Kim Yun-Hung Chen states that China Unicom’s 3G network rollout is progressing ahead of schedule and suggests that iPhone may be ready for launch in August. The Unicom insiders noted that despite readiness in August, the launch timing would be determined by “central headquarters.”*
* Shangahi Unicom is a subsidiary of China Unicom – HQ in Beijing