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China Unicom Offering Free iPhone 4S On Contract

Earlier this week, Apple announced that it would be launching the iPhone 4S in 22 new countries on January 13, with China being the highest-profile debut in the group.

Bloomberg now reports that China Unicom, Apple's existing iPhone carrier partner in the country, has released details on pricing that include a free iPhone 4S for users subscribing to contracts coming in at as little as $45 per month.
China United Network Communications Group (CHTZ), the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, will give users an Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone 4S if they sign multiyear service contracts costing as little as 286 yuan ($45) a month.

The promotion starting Jan. 13 offers a 32-gigabyte model with a three-year plan, while a commitment to two years for a monthly fee of 386 yuan allows users to get the 16-gigabyte model, the company known as China Unicom said in a statement on its website yesterday.
Beyond the contract price levels required for a free iPhone 4S, China Unicom offers a complex series of service plans and term lengths that carry varying levels of subsidy for the iPhone 4S. Contracts are available in terms ranging from 1-3 years and begin at 66 yuan ($10) per month, with longer and more expensive contracts obviously carrying higher subsidies and thus lower device costs for consumers.

Full details on the China Unicom's contract options are available in Chinese in the company's press release.

Bloomberg notes that China Unicom previously offered similar pricing for the iPhone 4, but ended the practice due to the high subsidies cutting too much into the carrier's profitability. The carrier is continuing its efforts to rein in subsidies as it works to boost its smartphone customer base, but seems willing to make an exception for the iPhone 4S in hopes of winning away customers from other carriers.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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34 months ago

I wanna move back to China! Everything is so cheap there!


Including life.
Rating: 8 Votes
34 months ago
That's weird. Interesting move for the carrier though as Apple still gets every penny for the phone.

Makes you wonder why one of our carriers in the US doesn't have the balls to do this, until you realize that here, the iPhone sells itself. I guess it's literally a different world over there with tech. Maybe they need marketing strategies beyond Apple's brand name and whatnot to sell these phones over Nokia's and the like. Even further, maybe the Chinese don't care as much about status symbols and what's popular.

More importantly, who else read it was China Unicorn? Should I be ashamed?

Rating: 7 Votes
34 months ago
The only reason Android got ahead was because they were given away for free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :rolleyes:
Rating: 6 Votes
34 months ago
so by general macrumors standard the iphone 4s is now a cheap POS since it's free on contract?
Rating: 4 Votes
34 months ago

so by general macrumors standard the iphone 4s is now a cheap POS since it's free on contract?


It's been available free on contract in the UK since it was released. Different deals for different markets.
Rating: 3 Votes
34 months ago

If you read the detail on that page, you will notice, you have to pre-pay more than $900 into your account for that two year contracts.


It's a lot up front. But considering I'm paying $75/month for minutes and data ($1800 over two years) PLUS $200 for the phone. They're paying $1080 for two year contract AND the phone included.

Still sounds like a pretty good deal to me.:D
Rating: 3 Votes
34 months ago

Let the whining commence...

Commence?!? It has never stopped since day one on this forum.

;)
Rating: 3 Votes
34 months ago
Free. Just like Android phones.
Rating: 2 Votes
34 months ago
When you sign up for a two yr contract for an i phone 4s here in Finland,
you are not bound to a minutes program or a data program. You can use the wi-fi feature to connect to the internet and pay for each phone call and text message. Or as an other example, 900 minutes, unlimited internet useage and 500 text messages on the 16gb model is only 36.90 euros per month. or
100 minutes for 27 euro's per month. You are getting ripped off royally in the good ol USA. And the carrier does subsidize the price on the phone to bring the cost down here.
Rating: 2 Votes
34 months ago

That's weird. Interesting move for the carrier though as Apple still gets every penny for the phone.


They do ? Because listening to people here, BOGO Android means less profit for the manufacturer. :rolleyes:

Anyway, good for the chinese people, they get to save 200$ on a 2500$ contract (depending on their contract term and service pricing).

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The only reason Android got ahead was because they were given away for free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :rolleyes:


BOGO! Android is being given away BOGO. ;)

The UK already had the free iPhone (not BOGO, free on contract, just 1 phone, not 2).
Rating: 2 Votes

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