China Mobile iPhone launch could lead to subsidy wars, say analysts

Image: thenextweb.com

Image: thenextweb.com

Analysts say that the official launch of the iPhone on China Mobile could lead to subsidy wars as Chinese carriers compete to attract buyers. The predictions, quoted by Business Insider, follow price cuts by rival carriers China Unicom and China Telecom as China Mobile reports 1.2 million pre-orders.

China Mobile is currently offering the iPhone 5s free with a 24-month contract costing the equivalent of $98 a month. A 30-month contract on China Unicom costs $63 a month.

I do think you’re going to see a subsidy war coming,” said Michael Clendenin, managing director of Shanghai-based RedTech Advisors. “China Mobile, if they’re not making their targets on sales for these phones, they’re going to increase the subsidies [...] It’s like airlines: the other guys will fall like dominoes, so China Unicom will do it and China Telecom will do it” …  Read more

In rare TV interview, Tim Cook says he is ‘honored’ to be doing business with China Mobile

In a rare TV interview, Tim Cook described this week’s launch of the iPhone on China Mobile as “a watershed day” for the company. While the soft-spoken Apple CEO is noted for the humbleness with which he speaks, it’s hard to imagine him describing Apple as being “honored” to do business with many other companies.

I’m so honored to be doing business with … China Mobile. It’s a huge announcement…we’re incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them, and have had from the very first discussion that we’ve had together” …  Read more

Tim Cook visits China again hoping to entice local carriers with upcoming iPhones

Tim-Cook-ChinaJanuary File Photo

According to a local Chinese report, Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently back in China hoping to jumpstart relations with Chinese carriers this week. Cook met with China Telecom, already a strong Apple partner. The topic of conversation wasn’t revealed but likely on the plate is Apple’s lower cost plastic iPhone, perhaps called the iPhone 5C, and overall flattening growth in Apple’s second biggest market.

The article speculates that he probably met with the other local carriers including partner China Unicom and the world’s biggest carrier, China Mobile who has around 700M subscribers – none of which have direct access to Apple’s iPhone yet.

It is Cook’s third known trip to China since he took over as CEO almost two years ago. Other things that may come up include Pegatron’s supposed worker violation issues and perhaps even another Beijing scalping problem.

Rough translation below: Read more

200,000 pre-orders later, China Telecom’s 130 million CDMA customers get access to the iPhone 4S today


image via M.I.C. Gadget

Sina Tech reports that CDMA iPhone 4S’s are being snapped up by its 130 million mobile subscribers today after the No. 2 player in the world’s largest mobile market recieved 200,000 pre-orders (and counting) starting last week.

We previously noted that the iPhone 4S on China Telecom would be available in every configuration: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The phone will start at “free” with a contract. China Telecom received its license to sell the iPhone in January. China Telecom officially announced it would begin selling the iPhone 4S last month.

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China Telecom says it will sell the iPhone 4S in a month

Earlier this month, we reported that China Telecom earned the necessary approvals to launch the iPhone 4S on China’s third-largest carrier. Today, the China Telecom subsidiary Beijing Telecom issued a press release (via China Daily) and said the Beijing-based company will launch the iPhone 4S as early as the end of February or beginning of March.

A CDMA version of the iPhone 4S will launch on the network. The press release gave no word on pricing for the device, but it will likely fall in line with the other networks.

China Telecom currently boasts 36.3 million 3G subscribers, while in comparison the nation’s largest carrier China Mobile Ltd., boasts 51.2 million 3G subscribers. Obviously, the launch of the iPhone 4S brings a lot of excitement in China, and it gives Apple the chance to add new customers. Moreover, launching on China Mobile would add an abundance of new customers, but that does not look to be happening anytime soon.

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No more iPhones in Beijing and Shanghai ‘for the time being’, Apple warns as analysts criticize China launch delays

Yesterday’s eagerly awaited iPhone 4S launch in China quickly turned into chaos as an ugly brawl between gangs of professional scalpers grew out of control. Beijing SWAT teams intervened to calm down hundreds of angry customers and tame the rowdy lines. The New York Times explained that scalpers hired migrant workers to stand in the line and buy the phone. As Apple said it would not open the store, those individuals, identifiable by matching armbands or hats, got angry because they were not going to be paid.

An Apple spokeswoman issued the  following statement following the incident (via Reuters):

Unfortunately, we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd. And to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees, iPhones will not be available in our retails stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being.

Instead, Apple noted, customers could order the iPhone 4S on the online Apple store or through one of the many China Unicom retail outlets, the country’s exclusive iPhone carrier. However, the iconic smartphone was out of stock on the Chinese online Apple Store at the time of this writing.

As you know, Apple rarely goes on the record unless absolutely necessary, so the statement is an indication of how the launch spiraled out of control. Moreover, the egg-throwing incident inspired funny remarks on Twitter. Really, who goes to buy a new iPhone with a pocket full of eggs? Let’s just hope this situation won’t snowball into a public relations nightmare and become a theme for another anti-Apple advert by Samsung.

In the meantime, one analyst pointed out that Apple must learn from this turmoil and consider launching its products in China and United States simultaneously. Another incredible riot clip, egg throwing video and additional tidbits are displayed after the break.


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Flagship Beijing Apple Store cancels selling iPhone 4S after fight breaks out

Breaking out of Beijing right now: The flagship Apple Store cancelled selling the iPhone 4S after a fight broke out between scalpers (via Mic Gadget). Beijing’s SWAT team is on the scene right now to help tame the rowdy lines. Bloomberg said the angry crowd eager to get the iPhone 4S is pelting the store with eggs.

The Store was set to open at 7 a.m. local time to begin selling the iPhone 4S on China’s second largest carrier China Unicom. We showed you the large lines earlier today as customers gathered. What most people do not know, however, is that the majority of the people in line are scalpers looking sell the devices on the street. Scalpers reportedly started the fight in Beijing, according to MIC Gadget:

There are over thousands of people at the scene and seems like 99% of them are scalpers, according to local media reports. And according to our tipster, the scalpers are well organized, and they are divided into hundreds of teams, just like military forces. Each team includes 10-20 scalpers. Some of them even threw eggs at the glass door of the Apple store, while others threatened to assault the police.

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Huge lines form at Apple Stores in China for iPhone 4S launch

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     The gallery above via Flickr user Liz Phung shows more shots from the launch in Beijing. There are also two images of  employees receiving their first shipments at China Unicom in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province (via xinhuanet). 

It is just over 8 hours before the iPhone 4S officially lands in China and huge lines already starting to form outside of Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The image below is from Instagram user Sanverde who noted he snapped the shot outside an Apple Store in Sanlitun Village, Beijing less than an hour ago. As you can see from the daytime image in the slideshow above (posted by Twitter user Alexander Galimberti on Jan. 10), Beijing line sitters started showing up for tonight’s launch days in advance. To the right is an image from Instagram user sainasilverman who says 400,000 units of the iPhone 4S have now arrived in Beijing.

China Unicom, the only carrier currently offering the iPhone 4S, does not currently accept pre-orders, but it will be offering the 16GB and 32GB models free on two- and three-year agreements. China Telecom, the nation’s third largest mobile carrier, is also expected to offer the iPhone in the future. The device recently received necessary approval from the China Radio Management agency for use on its CDMA network.

Check out the most recent shot of the lines outside the Sanlitun Village, Beijing Apple Store after the break and some more shots of gray market line sitters wearing red hats. According to MIC Gadget, those wearing a red cap have been paid 100 yuan ($16) to line up for the 12+ hour wait. We will be updating with more shots, so email your photographs of the lines to us at tips@9to5mac.com Read more

iPhone 4S gains necessary China certification; January launch expected for mainland

People Daily reported that Apple received the certification it needs by the China Compulsory Certification to launch the iPhone 4S in mainland China. The certification was awarded on Dec. 22, shortly after Apple also received certification from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China. With the necessary certifications, Apple has now met all of its requirements to launch the iPhone 4S in China. People Daily said the iPhone 4S-model number A1431- will hit in early January.

To model how well the iPhone 4S could potentially do in China, in this year’s June quarter earnings, Apple’s sales in China topped $3.8 billion. Thus, obviously, the launch of the iPhone 4S in China would boost sales.

China Unicom is the third-largest carrier in China, and it remains the sole carrier for the iPhone. While Apple is able to reach a large market, only being available on one carrier leaves about 1.33 billion people in the market untapped. If Apple were to also sell the iPhone 4S on China Mobile, sales could grow substantially. At any rate, the iPhone 4S is at least on its way to China Unicom by January.


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China Unicom confirms iPhone 5 with 21 Mbps HSPA+ support?

According to a poorly translated report from Macotakara, China Unicom’s Deputy Director of Research has confirmed an iPhone 5 with HSPA+ capabilities (21Mbps) during a keynote at Macworld Asia 2011. The image above is from the presentation via PC Watch.

Japanese IT News Site ” PC Watch “Tells That, Research vice president of China Unicom , Huan Wenliang, told iPhone five Will Support W-CDMA based high-speed Data Transfer standard HSPA Evolution “HSPA +” (21Mbps) at Keynote speech in Macworld Asia 2011.

We’ve heard rumors that Apple is in early testing of LTE-capable test devices, and we know AT&T has already started rolling out their HSPA+ tech and even marketing HSPA devices as “4G”.

Curiously, the Qualcomm Gobi MDM6600 chips found in the Verizon iPhone support HSPA+ data rates of up to 14.4 Mbps. Analysts are expecting a 4G LTE iPhone in 2012. (via MacRumors and MacPost)

WSJ: China Mobile “getting closer” to deal that will make iPhone available to 600 million subscribers

Without revealing too many new details, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple and China Mobile are “getting closer” to the seemingly elusive China Mobile iPhone deal. China Mobile is the mainland’s largest carrier with over 600 million subscribers (that’s about the equiv. of the US+European populations). The report also confirms that it was, in fact, Tim Cook who was spotted at China Mobile‘s headquarters in mid-June.

China Mobile references in the iOS SDK – Thanks, Sonny Dickson!

The WSJ also discusses the price of the current iPhone models in context with the average salaries for China households:

The iPhone, which currently sells for between 3,999 and 5,999 yuan without contract, would be a luxury for many Chinese consumers. The average household income in the first half of 2011 was 12,076 yuan, according to China’s national statistics bureau.

With this fact in mind, it makes sense for Apple to build and sell a more economical iPhone. The report is not specific about when this China Mobile iPhone will launch and China Mobile has already confirmed that talks with Apple over carrying the iPhone are ongoing. Be sure to check out the WSJ’s explanation of the “exclusive” in the video above.

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