February 13, 2009
"China Unicom has held several rounds of negotiations with Apple Inc.," said a well-informed source within the company, "but there are still many obstacles ahead."One of the issues is China doesn't allow cell phones to have Wi-Fi so Apple would have to agree to remove it from the iPhone or hope the regulations would change which is highly unlikely. Another issue is China Unicom would also want Apple to change the default software included on the iPhone to something Chinese users are more familiar with and once again this seems unlikely. The upside to Apple working with China Unicom is that they intend to roll out a 3G network based on the WCDMA standard that Apple already uses. China Unicom hopes to have it ready by May 17th. In a final twist, JLM Pacific Epoch reported yesterday that China Mobile and Apple are "currently negotiating iPhone cooperation." This would mean that the two companies are back to speaking with each other and Apple may have gained some added leverage by speaking with China Unicom. All companies involved want something they can't have but Apple needs to get the iPhone in China one way or another. Negotiations could go on for quite sometime because both carriers have a lot to lose if Apple signs on with the opposition.