Apple & China Unicom receive regulatory approval for iPhone launch

china unicom iphoneGasp … shock … applause, yes, according to tech website Engadget this morning, China Unicom & Apple have managed to get regulatory approval fromChina’s State Radio Regulatory Commission.  As Engadget states :

According to the listing, we’re looking at a GSM / WCDMA cellphone complete with Bluetooth, an internal model number A1324, a little-known manufacturer called “Apple Inc.” and an approval date of May 7th, 2009. We’re also told that the certificate expires in five years, which should give China Unicom plenty of time to capitalize on its reported three-year deal to offer the phone in mainland China.

A copy of that filing can be viewed here : Approvals (luckily for us, Google translate is working well) & here is an image of the actual filing itself :

china-iphone-approval

Engadget goes on to play this down, as there have been a plethora of iPhone / China stories ever since the first iPhone came on the scene two years ago. However, scooting around some telecom pit stops & also some Apple watchers, it would seem that there is real credence in this story. Over at iPhon Asia, Dan Butterfield, a veteran Asian mobile commentator, has been doing our job for us, with a regular stream of articles on the iPhone, here are a couple of lifts from him in the last week in reverse order :

Press reports along with some documentary evidence, suggests that a new model iPhone was submitted to China’s authorities for mandatory “testing” sometime in late Spring. The MIIT’s testing process can take several months to complete. Foot-dragging by the MIIT might help China’s carriers to deploy their own Android-based phones + new WVAS + new mobile operating systemsbefore iPhone is launched.

Multiple reports that Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) will soon begin full production of a custom iPhone for China. This model will not have WiFi (due to WAPI/WiFi issues) but will likely come preloaded with several “for China” apps. Foxconn has given this iPhone a code name – “Model 90.” There is a very high probability that Model 90 is the same “yet to be unveiled” iPhone model (A1324) that China granted (in early June) a Radio Transmission Equipment Type Approval Certificate (RTETAC). China website Tech.QQ has posted a story today about China Unicom’s plans to bring iPhone to China. The report quotes anonymous “informed sources” who claim that Apple and China Unicom have finalized their deal to officially launch iPhone in China. The report does not mention when China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) might grant Apple’s iPhone the required Network Access License (NAL).

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.

Now, lets go all the way back to the first quote & concentrate on the highlighted text (my addition), Dan reported this regulatory topic back on the 25th July in his post : iPhone in China – “Are we there yet?”

So thanks Engadget for “breaking” some news that was already out there & Big Kudos for Dan for sticking at it & being objective.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. This news actually goes back to mid-June http://iphonasia.com/?p=5586
    http://iphonasia.com/?s=A1324

    Thanks for your write up Paul

  2. Posted by Paul Harper on July 31, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    well isn’t that even better Dan ? I was not too impressed with the op-ed from Engadget, a salacious trick for people to get clicky. Enjoying following the blog, will be in touch soon regards the blog platform.
    regs Paul

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