China Unicom to Sell iPhone With Wi-Fi in China Starting Next Week

Written By Sam on 16 August 2010

China Unicom is planning to start selling Apple’s iPhone with Wi-Fi capability next week, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. This was disclosed by an unnamed China Unicom official familiar with the developments.

However, iPhones were sold in China since October last year, but only with the 3G cellular service. Apple introduced iPhones with the Wi-Fi service disabled in order to comply with the Chinese regulations that prohibit the sale of Wi-Fi devices that do not use WAPI (Wired Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure), its own wireless standard. So far, China Unicom has been offering an 8GB iPhone 3G, and 16GB and 32GB models of iPhone 3GS. The two iPhones are being offered without Wi-Fi capability.The lack of wireless function had, however, dampened the interest of iPhone buyers as there were numerous “gray market” iPhones crowding the Chinese market.

However, China Unicom has been trying to get Wi-Fi enabled iPhone to its customers in order to boost their sales. Their efforts seem to have paid off with Apple’s phone with Wi-Fi capability getting a network access license in China back in July. But it is not yet clear whether the iPhones will use traditional Wi-Fi or WAPI.

China Unicom has further hinted that they would also want to offer iPhone 4 and iPad to their customers. The Apple has not yet introduced these phones to the Chinese market.

Elsewhere in Hong Kong, Telstra Corp.’s Hong Kong unit, CSL Ltd., had been finding it difficult to meet the high demand of the iPhones4, within one week after it started offering the phone. Hong Kong’s other mobile carriers, SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd. and Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd., also started offering iPhone 4, beginning last Friday.

via WSJ

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