China Unicom will launch its 3G service nationwide on Thursday without the iPhone.
Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobing told a press conference in Beijing yesterday the 3G service would be offered in 285 cities from October 1, China’s national day holiday.
But the iPhone’s much-awaited debut in the world’s largest mobile market will have to wait until late in the month.
Unicom vice president Li Gang told sina.com that the operator would take orders for the 3G and 3GS iPhones from this week, but they would not ship until after October 15. Li did not give a reason for the delay.
The phone would cost “about 5,000 yuan” ($732) without any subsidy, according to a list of Unicom handset prices, but the carrier would not reveal the retail price of the handset.
Unicom’s 3G brand Wo offers a complex nine tiers of pricing, starting from a student package at 66 yuan ($9.70) a month and topping out at 886 yuan.
The iPhone will be sold in eight different packages, ranging from 126 yuan ($18.46) to 886 yuan a month, allowing downloads of between 450MB and 4GB and airtime of between 320 and 3,000 minutes.
Unicom said it would also sell a Samsung Android phone and more than 80 other W-CDMA devices.
This is the second stage of Unicom’s 3G rollout, following the launch of Wo in 55 cities in May. Unicom is the last of China’s three mobile carriers to offer 3G nationwide and the only one to use W-CDMA.