Remember how AT&T held exclusivity for iPhone sales in the US for many years – up until the Verizon iPhone 4 was finally launched last year? Well, the same thing has been going on in China.
Since the iPhone first arrived over there, the exclusive carrier has been China Unicom. That’s the second biggest carrier, as China Mobile (who’s No.1) uses TD-SCDMA for 3G, a Chinese tech which hasn’t so far been used anywhere else in the world and which Apple has been reluctant to include into its iPhones. So that left Apple with the choice of selling an EDGE device to China Mobile customers or going with China Unicom, which uses the WCDMA 3G that’s also found pretty much everywhere across the globe.
But the Verizon (and then Sprint) iPhone launches meant that Apple is now also making a CDMA iPhone. And China Telecom has a CDMA mobile network in China. So, ladies and gentlemen, starting today, for the first time there’s some competition in China for the iPhone. China Telecom has started selling the iPhone 4S today, almost two months after China Unicom did the same thing. Although it’s the smallest of the ‘big three’ Chinese carriers, China Telecom will surely benefit immensely from the new partnership with Apple.
The iPhone 4S 16 GB can be had for free with a two-year contract that costs 389 yuan per month (that’s about $62 or €47). If you sign a three-year contract, the required monthly fee drops to 289 yuan ($46 or €35).
China Telecom’s prices are cheaper than those found at China Unicom, China Daily reports. That should attract those who aren’t getting their iPhones from the grey market. And China Telecom is clearly hoping that the pricing will make people ignore the fact that its 3G speeds are reportedly up to four times slower than what China Unicom offers.