Unicom a barrier to iPhone sales: survey

Nicole McCormick
21 May 2010
Daily News

Potential iPhone’s customers in China are staying away because of iPhone distributor China Unicom’s poor image, according to a survey.

A survey of 2,000 mobile customers aged between 22-32 years by China Market Research Group found that while Apple’s iPhone was highly desired, less than 10% of respondents were Unicom customers, and of these, a majority said they were unhappy with the company’s service, said the WSJ.

In contrast, 95% of those surveyed viewed rival China Mobile as more stable with better coverage compared to Unicom.

Such findings are not relevant for other markets that have exclusive iPhone agreements with Apple, but in China, grey market iPhones can be used on China’s Mobile EDGE network.

Rather than subscribing to Unicom’s 3G expensive plans, many iPhone owners have subscribed to cheaper 2G plans from China Mobile.

Earlier this month, Unicom slashed the price of its iPhone to between $732 and $1,025 upfront, from $878 and $1,171 previously, for users on two-year contracts in a bid to boost take-up.

China Mobile is also hoping to bring a TD-SCDMA version of the iPhone to China, while speculation is that a low-cost CDMA version of the iPhone may be in the offing for China Telecom.

CMR also found that 80% of respondents used prepaid mobile services and had no plans to switch operators in the next three years.

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