1 in 10 iPhones Unlocked, Used on China Mobile

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rener points us to this story: that roughly 400,000 iPhones are showing up on China Mobile's network. That's 1 in 10. That's alotta iPhones:

According to China Mobile, the biggest wireless carrierin China, there were about 400,000 cracked iPhones using its cellular network service at the end of 2007, representing one out of every 10 iPhone shipments announced officially by Apple. - In-Stat - Information Alert

We've treaded lightly on the issue of the iPhone Gray Market and the question of just how many unlocked iPhones are floating about (and why these missing iPhones matter) - but it's time to stop treading lightly and stomp: Apple either needs to get more carriers (especially China Mobile) on board with the iPhone to staunch this wound or they need to finally admit that unlocked iPhones are still sold iPhones and the lost revenue sharing ain't a big deal.

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Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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Reader comments

1 in 10 iPhones Unlocked, Used on China Mobile


I've often wondered why Apple doesn't just sell a $900 unlocked GSM iPhone, since there are proven markets in Canada, China, and every other country with a GSM network.
People seem willing to pay a premium for gray market devices, soft and hard hacks, etc. not to mention the hefty unlocked prices in France (and for a short period, Germany).
But then, just selling an unlocked device, while increasing revenue in spite of contract fee sharing, could Apple really be trying to change the telco industry?
An unlocked GSM device does nothing to force Rogers (Canada) into reasonable data rates, does nothing to break carrier dictates, does nothing to force revenue-sharing as a business model for potentially other Apple products (MacBook Air and iTablet with ubiquitous cell internet connectivity ala iPhone and Kindle).
If there really is some of the pirate mentality left at Apple, they may be willing to take a hit on gray market phones to push through their pricing and sharing visions on the telcos.