Now this should make a big difference to global iPhone sales: Apple has at last agreed a deal to get its handset on sale in China.
China Unicom, China's second largest telecoms operator, is the network which has finally sealed the deal. In a statement on its H1 earnings it revealed:
"On 28 August, the Company and Apple reached a three-year agreement for the Company to sell iPhone in China. The initial launch is expected to be in the fourth calendar quarter of 2009. This will provide users with brand new communication and information experience."
Exact pricing details haven't been formally announced, but cnBeta claims an 8GB iPhone 3G will cost 2,500 RMB ($366) on a two year contract, with the plan itself a mere 186 RMB ($27) per month. Nothing is known about iPhone 3GS pricing at this stage.
The news will be a boost for China Unicom which saw profits tumble 42.1 per cent to 6.6bn RMB (just under $1bn) from last year, but it is expected to face huge competition from China Mobile - the country's largest telco which sells the Lenovo OPhone.
Whatever China's reception to the iPhone however making it available to 1.3 billion people is surely only going to result in a huge surge in sales. With 5.2m iPhone and iPhone 3GS sold in Apple's Q3 alone, this could see total shipments reach dizzy new heights...