More background about WiFi/WAPI on iPhone in China:
Here is iPhonAsia’s reply to CNET Asia article – iPhone finally coming to China, but who cares?
While all signs point to no WiFi on the “official” iPhone for China, there is a chance that Apple will submit a dual WAPI/WiFi model that would meet China’s requirements. Yet I’ll concede that this is a long shot.
Based on purported insider leaks to China’s tech press in March, Apple submitted two models for testing – one with WiFi and one without. Yet based on everything that I’ve read, China’s MIIT has allowed only one model to continue through the testing process – Model A1324. This appears to be a new Apple iPhone developed for the China market. It may come preloaded with several “for China” apps (e.g. Youku, Hanwang’s HWPen, etc) but it will most likely come sans WiFi.
Interfax TMT reported on April 7 that Apple had agreed to provide a majority share of App Store revenue to China Unicom. This leads me to believe that China Unicom has agreed to allow Apple to control delivery of wireless value added services (WVAS) and will allow iPhones to load apps via Apple’s China App Store (vs the app store that China Unicom will soon launch). I would imagine that as part of the negotiation quid-pro-quo, China Unicom will agree to pay a modest per unit subsidy and that the official iPhone will be priced significantly lower than grey market iPhones coming in from Hong Kong.
One item of note is that the iPhone 3GS has now landed in Hong Kong (July 10) and the SIM unlocked version can now be ordered through Apple’s HK Online Store. I’ve heard reports that the SIM unlocked models were sold out in a matter of hours. But not to worry, they’ll (Apple/Hon Hai) soon make more. SIM unlocked models must be shipped to a Hong Kong address. Too bad they need to swim across the channel and then back again.
SIM unlocked iPhone 3GS for 16GB HKD 5,388 ($695 US) and 32GB HKD 6,288 ($811 US) respectively.
In addition to Model A1324, I’m holding out hope (pure speculation) for another new model iPhone later in 2010. This model would be a low-priced “2G only” iPhone and would be available to any China carrier (unlocked). This model would be aimed at prepaid wireless consumers in BRIC nations, particularly in China and India.
Thanks for your article and insights,
~ Dan Butterfield
Jul 13, 2009 05:37