• China Unicom Offering Five Versions of the iPhone

    Image via BusinessWeek

    Only hours away from Apple's iPhone becoming available for preorder in China, we're learning more about Unciom's big plans for the device in the largest mobile community in the world.

    PC World is reporting this morning that five versions of the iPhone will initially be offered, each with a variety of service plan options when the operator officially takes the device to market in October.

    China Unicom initially said the iPhone 3G would be priced at around 5,000 yuan (US$732) when it goes on sale in October, but the operator didn't offer detailed pricing for the eight service plans that it will offer customers. On Tuesday, China Unicom offered more specifics of its pricing plans, saying it would begin taking preorders for the phones on Oct. 1, when it launches its commercial 3G service.
    Yesterday, I had expressed concern over the high price tag set for the iPhone in China and how it could potentially (if not likely) prevent the iPhone from becoming as ubiquitous in China as it has elsewhere in the world. But lucky for both Chinese consumers and the entire slate of developers and mobile marketers wishing to reach the masses in China through the iPhone, it now appears that a few less expensive iPhone options will also be available in China.

    With the cheapest contract, which costs 126 yuan per month, the 8GB iPhone 3G will set customers back 3,099 yuan, while the 16GB and 32GB versions of the iPhone 3GS will cost 3,999 yuan and 4,999 yuan, respectively. Customers willing to pay for the second-most expensive plan, which costs 586 yuan per month, can get an 8GB iPhone 3G for free, or pay 99 yuan for a 16GB iPhone 3GS or 999 yuan for a 32GB iPhone 3GS.
    Nonetheless, having an iPhone in China still won't be a completely inexpensive venture no matter which variation of the device and its corresponding plan are obtained.

    What else do we know about October's launch? According to PC World, the 16GB and 32GB versions of the iPhone 3G will have a color option, as both will be available in either black or white. The 8GB iPhone 3G, however, will only be available in black.

    It should be noted, though, that Chinese customers who opt for the priciest service plan with a two-year contract at 886 yuan per month, will get the iPhone device itself for free. But unlike the premiere data package for the iPhone in the US (which, obviously, includes unlimited calls and messages) even the most expensive service plan in China caps minutes at 3,000 per month.
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