iPhone Plans in China Starting at $20/month -- Aiya!

Looks like China Unicom is set to launch the iPhone 3G 8GB (sans WiFi) for $300, which might sound expensive compared to the US $99 price, but here's the no-shadow kick -- the monthly plan is $20.

Granted, there's likely no one in the world who feels their iPhone plan is cheap -- and many who likely feel it ranges from expensive to exorbitant, but $20 a month compared to $70 or $100? Taken for one year that maths up to $240 vs. $840 or $1200. Two years, that's $480 vs. $1680 or $2400. Three years... you get the idea (likely painfully and right in the wallet). Makes that $200 up front savings pretty insignificant doesn't it.

Of course, the aforementioned lack of WiFi may make non-Chinese iPhone owners feel a little better about themselves, and there's still no way to know how the Internet in general, never mind the App Store will survive the Great Firewall of China.

Hao bu hao?

[Xinhua via Fortune]

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • wow.. i dont know about you guys, but i'd sacrifice wifi to save $50 a month.
    $1200 saved over the course of a 2 year contract...
  • Hell yeah I would do the same to save some money
  • 3g is almost as fast as wifi, sign me up for $20/month
  • Wow people would rather pay 20 bucks instead of 100? I'm glad I read this...fyl
  • So, how about US$11 (250MB), US$23 (unlimited) per month data plan? And less than 1c per minute talk time and same 2c per SMS? Sounds OK? (Pay full price upfront for iPhone). Well, I am talking about India!
  • To be exact: US$ 16.59742 includes: Calls at 0.01246 per minute (249 minutes free) and 250MB data (additional data at US$ 0.10386 per 1MB), each SMS at US$ 0.02077. Does it sound OK?
  • Is it okay to assume that AT&T is just money hungry compared to other overseas countries?
  • @MrAnonymous:
    Is it ok to assume anyone in the US would work for the wages paid in china and india?
    From the mall-lizard manning the ATT kiosk to the guy climbing the cell towers all day, every one of them has to be paid a living wage. The wage paid in the US or Canada would allow the to live like kings in China or India.
    Converting foreign prices to Dollars without any mention of Cost of Living or living standards is rather pointless.
    At 300 bucks, Apple will still make the same margin on the phone that they do in North America.
    But 300 bucks is a LOT of money in China. Among cities in China, Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen have an average annual salary of $6,687, $6,481 and $5,872 respectively.
  • are you all kidding? here in switzerland we pay as low as 25$ a month. this makes for a handset price of 149$ for the 3G, and 249$ for the 3GS-16GB on a 24 month/25$ contract, 100MB included (i usually use around 80MB a month). for 35$ a month, you can have the same with 1GB included.
  • Feichang hao!
  • Well we all know that the US has THE HIGHEST rates across the globe when it comes to cellular plans. So hearing this is not surprising. I mean all these extra taxes we pay on our bills are FCC charges that don't apply to us! Were giving the cell phone companies money to pay THEIR bills! But what can we do?
  • Japan's plans are higher than anywhere. They offer no prepaid SIMs either. As fir Cinq land. No wifi. Communism sucks and so does China!!
  • The cheapest iPhone plan in Germany is $35 a month but it doesn't include anywhere near as many minutes or texts as the AT&T plans, and it also doesn't have a data flatrate (I think only 200MB are included).
    But needless to say, comparing a cellphone plan in the US with one in China is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. People in China earn a lot less money than Americans or Europeans do, so of course everything there is cheaper than it is here! I for one, would rather live in a Western country with its freedom and amenities than in China and save a little bit of money on my cellphone plan.
  • Did you know that you can add google voice number to the new A List plans and you never use any minutes. Do you think that Att will like that
  • Im moving to china... Lmao
  • I'm still on crummy Edge here in CT.
    An AT&T salesman actually defended the Edge network to me when I said it was useless. He said "it's not useless. It's 4 times faster than dial up." I told him "So is the U.S. Mail."
    Without wifi I would not have a use for this phone. I still pay just as much for using the Edge network that everyone using 3G does. Most of the time I'm using it on my wifi and not using AT&T's networks at all!
    Where is that money going? Upgrade already!
    "The nations fastest 3G network" is right. It's so fast because no one is on it! They're using their cable companies bandwidth instead.
  • Comparing 1 INR is equal to US$48 is different matter. How? Look, what Purchasing Power Parity as someone from International Labour Organisation has said that 1 INR approximately equals 10 US$!
  • Sorry, I made a mistake. 1US$ = 48 INR. Read that way. Thanks.
  • Again an error, comparing PPP 1US$ equals approx 10 INR.
  • :x WhatEVAH!!
  • I'm curious as to what that $20/month includes.
  • Can someone explain why Chinese government had forced apple to launch iPhone without wifi.
    I have seen all new nokia and other brands phone available in china with wifi, have used these phones in china with wifi. Why this discrimination against iPhone?
  • @Amish
    ALL cells launched in mainland china have to remove wifi. But you can always buy a cell in black market, which is no big deal in china.
    I live in China, now using an E71 from Singapore and a G1 from T-Mobile US. my friends are using HTC Diamond from UK, iPhone 3G from Australia, N97 from HK...
  • @Joost
    $20 deal from china unicom usually includes 320min voice talk, 400MB and some other useless benefits
  • I'll be interested to see if the introduction of the iPhone here in China takes care of the Google Maps problem that we have. As anybody can see if they look at a location in China, the satellite and maps view is displaced by about 500 meters or so. It makes GPSing very inaccurate. Here's hoping...
  • @icebike
    Not to getting into anything politcal or whatnot, but, just to be clear, there is a big difference between minimum wage and a living wage, and most "mall-lizards" are definitely not paid a living wage.
  • I want the iPhone 3GS and not the old iPhone 3G.
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