China's telecom operators slash iPhone contract price

TAIPEI - China Telecom announced a couple days ago that it would cut contract prices for its mobile plans, and analysts said that the company's move was taken with the aim of upsetting its competitor China Mobile.

China Mobile is set to roll out the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c next Friday. The phone will be able to connect to a 4G service provided by China Mobile.

China Telecom announced yesterday that it would cut contract prices for users of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c phones on its network by 1,288 yuan (S$270), the largest cut in the market.

Under the company's 189-yuan mobile plan, the price of the iPhone 5S was reduced by 800 yuan, and under its 289-yuan package, the price of iPhone 5s dropped by 1,288 yuan.

According to the pubic relations office of China Telecom, the iPhone has been on the market for a while, and price reductions are very normal at this stage in the product's lifetime, adding that the company is launching this promotion to attract business before the arrival of the Chinese New Year.

Another Chinese mobile company, China Unicom, also reduced contract price for its iPhone 4s and iPhone 5c phones last week. On Jan. 3, the company cut its 32G iPhone 5c price to 4,999 yuan, and its 16G model to 4,199 yuan. On Jan. 5, China Unicom reduced the price of its 8G iPhone 4S from 3,280 yuan to 2,780 yuan.

While China Mobile did not reveal the number of preorders for the iPhone 5s and 5c, the company's Beijing office received a preorder of 70,000 to 80,000 for its "4G star phones."

China Mobile priced its 16GB iPhone 5s mobile package at 5,300 yuan. A minimum of 88 yuan of usage is required, which is lower than thresholds offered by China's other two telecom operators.