China Unicom Working With Apple to Launch Wi-Fi Enabled iPhones

News | Thursday March 4 2010 5:00 AM | Comments (0) Tags: , , , , , , ,

This follows easing of regulations placed earlier by the Chinese Government that restricted Wi-Fi access from handsets and instead encouraged the use of a homegrown wireless standard called WAPI. This had forced Apple to launch a China-specific model of the iPhone that came without the usual Wi-Fi feature.
Announcing the launch of Wi-Fi enabled handsets, China Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobing said that his company was contemplating a process to compensate the existing customers of
who may not have access to the Wi-Fi feature by allowing these users a greater use of Unicom's 3G network. Chang did not elaborate on the possible timeline for the launch of Wi-Fi enabled handsets though.
Additional 3G for existing customers seems to be a very viable option considering that the carrier has set its focus on building its 3G capacity this year. Chang had said:
“This year our overall investment will clearly decrease from last year's level. But 3G development remains our investment priority for 2010. We will absolutely not slow the pace of 3G development.”
With the introduction of Wi-Fi, China Unicom may expect to see a revival in iPhone sales that had
during the launch owing to a variety of factors including the high cost of the handset – typically in the $730-$1020 range, cheaper knockoffs available from the gray market and also high cost for 3G access that users had to do with in the absence of Wi-Fi.
What do you think? Is a revival likely or do you think China Unicom will need to subsidize iPhones to improve sales?

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