China Unicom is reportedly planning to start selling the iPhone 4S this week.
Industry sources said China’s second largest carrier will sell the Apple’s popular smartphone through the operator's own service centers and Chinese consumer electronics and home appliances retailer Suning's outlets beginning January 6.
China Unicom's provincial branches are currently making the final preparations to commence iPhone 4S sales and its employees are apparently undergoing related training, according to China Tech News.
China Unicom had declined comment on the device’s actual debut date, but the company's executives had earlier stated that the new iPhone 4S would be available before the Chinese New Year holidays, which start January 22.
Unicom, the sole supplier of Apple’s popular smartphones in China, launched the cheaper iPhone 4 8GB handsets in November in an attempt to lure more customers to its 3G network. The company also reduced its 3G tariffs to as low as 66 yuan ($10.50) per month and launched new smartphone models priced below 1,000 yuan.
This strategy paid off as Unicom added nearly 3.4 million new 3G users in November - a record-high for the company for the year 2011, bringing its 3G subscriber base to 36.5 million.