China Unicom offers more iPhone pricing details

China Unicom plans to offer five versions of Apple’s iPhone through an array of two-year service plans when the operator puts the smartphones on sale next month.

China Unicom initially said the iPhone 3G would be priced at around 5,000 yuan (US$732) when it goes on sale in October, but the operator didn’t offer detailed pricing for the eight service plans that it will offer customers. On Tuesday, China Unicom offered more specifics of its pricing plans, saying it would begin taking preorders for the phones on Oct. 1, when it launches its commercial 3G service.

Five models of the iPhone will be offered. The 16GB and 32GB versions of the iPhone 3GS will be available in both black and white, while the 8GB iPhone 3G will only be available in black.

The phones will be available for sale as part of a two-year contract, or without a contract.

Without a contract, the 8GB iPhone 3G is priced at 5,999 yuan, while the 16GB and 32GB iPhone 3GS are priced at 6,999 yuan and 7,999, respectively. Users who choose to buy a phone without a contract can choose between one of China Unicom’s 3G plans or choose a student package, which costs 66 yuan per month.

The prices get significantly lower when users sign a two-year contract. In total, there are eight plans that range in price from 126 yuan to 886 yuan per month, offering various level of data usage and talk time. As the plans get more expensive, the cost of the handset gets cheaper.

With the cheapest contract, which costs 126 yuan per month, the 8GB iPhone 3G will set customers back 3,099 yuan, while the 16GB and 32GB versions of the iPhone 3GS will cost 3,999 yuan and 4,999 yuan, respectively. Customers willing to pay for the second-most expensive plan, which costs 586 yuan per month, can get an 8GB iPhone 3G for free, or pay 99 yuan for a 16GB iPhone 3GS or 999 yuan for a 32GB iPhone 3GS.

With the most expensive monthly plan, which costs 886 yuan per month, users can get any of the iPhone models for free.

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