Well, it looks like we might have spoken too soon. Last week we reported that the iPhone would be coming to China via China Unicom sometime in Mid May. But now Barron’s is reporting via the research firm Wedge Partners, that a number of significant roadblocks remain un-resolved, including the following:
- Apple’s reluctance to disable WiFi; China has a law that bar WiFi in mobile phones.
- China Unicom’s insistence on installing its own software, including an iTunes clone.
- Wedge says Unicom has agreed to subsidize the cost of the phone and to share revenue with Apple for certain value-added services. And the note reports that Unicom has agreed to guarantee a certain number of handset purchases.
Wedge contends it could take 6-8 months for Apple and China Unicom to settle their remaining issues.
The iPhone in China seems inevitable, the only question is when it’s gonna happen.