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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
115 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?

Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

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


Including life.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
so by general macrumors standard the iphone 4s is now a cheap POS since it's free on contract?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

Let the whining commence...

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

;)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 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
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Some Apple Watch SE Owners Experiencing Issues With Overheating [Updated]

Monday October 19, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
There may be an issue with the new Apple Watch SE, which some users have found is overheating after a few hours of usage. Several Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea have run into problems, as noted in a Reddit post chronicling the complaints. There have been six reports from Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea who have had their Apple Watches get hot and malfunction, with a yellow spot...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Apple Plans to Enable 5G in Dual SIM Mode With Software Update Later This Year

Monday October 19, 2020 9:20 am PDT by
iPhone XS models and newer feature both a physical SIM slot and a digital eSIM, allowing for a feature known as dual SIM, dual standby. This means you can have two lines of service on one iPhone, which is useful for purchasing data-only plans while traveling abroad or having personal and business lines on a single iPhone. 5G will not be available in Dual SIM mode on the iPhone 12 and iPhone...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...