Monday, 13 July 2009

China: Apple iPhones But No Wi-Fi

Written by  Steven Yates

iphones by AppleApple Corp., supplier of Wi-Fi-enabled iPhones, has been carrying on a war of words with the Chinese government — emblematic of what happens when a product of free enterprise tries to bring its technology into a tightly controlled marketplace. According to CNET News, Apple has blinked first.

According to BusinessWeek citing the Colorado-based stock research firm Wedge Partners, Apple has applied for a Network Access License that would allow the company to sell its iPhone in China without Wi-Fi. The Chinese want an iPhone that runs only on cellular networks. Apparently they will have it. The approval process would take four to six months, meaning that the Wi-Fi-less iPhone will be officially available in January, 2010.

Unofficially, the iPhone is probably already there, of course. This technology is popular worldwide because it can be unlocked and used on any compatible network.

Officially, the Chinese carrier of the new iPhone might be China Unicom. How well will these phones do? This remains to be seen, but obviously Apple Corp. believed this deal worthwhile to get their feet in the door. Apple doubtlessly sees the potential customers: China Unicom has 130 million subscribers (as opposed to AT&T's mere 77 million subscribers). Apple may see Wi-Fi in China as a project to take up later once the company is a known quantity in China, its products trusted. With demand for new technology growing among the Chinese people, Apple may have just bought themselves time until it is the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information that sees the results and blinks.

Photo: AP Images