Now that the Chinese government has worked out the details so the standard version of the iPhone with Wi-Fi wireless networking support can be sold in the country, China Unicom plans to do just that as early as next week.
The company plans to start offering the 8GB iPhone 3GS in hopes of drawing more customers into legit purchases instead of turning to grey market dealers. Thanks to China’s strict controls over devices with wireless networking capabilities, consumers in the country had been forced to turn to unofficial channels to get fully functioning iPhones.
The majority of iPhones sold in the country so far look to have come from sources other than China Unicom, most likely because grey market models come from markets where Wi-Fi support in the device hasn’t been disabled. Assuming it can offer competitive pricing, China Unicom may be able to start drawing in customers that otherwise would turn to unauthorized channels for their iPhone.
There’s no word yet on when to expect the iPhone 4 to be available in the country.
[Thanks to Macworld for the heads up.]