AppleInsider reports that according to China-based website tech.sina.com, China Unicom, the second-largest carrier in China, could be thinking about ending sales of iPhones on a contract basis from next month. The report says that back in September 2010, China Unicom, the only WCDMA carrier in China, signed a two-year deal with Apple to sell the iPhone at a reduced price to its subscribers provided they sign a 24-month contract. However, the high overheads for the handsets, as well as a need to invest in infrastructure, means that China Unicom is apparently not getting enough profits out of the deal, which is of course due to expire next month. Tech.sina.com says that China Unicom would still sell the iPhone even if it did decide to stop providing it on a contract basis, but only to those paying the full retail price for the handset. Previously, AppleInsider notes, China Unicom has been known for heavily subsidising the cost of its iPhones, even giving the iPhone 4S to its subscribers for free, provided they sign up for longer contracts.
Source: China's second-largest carrier may end contract sales of Apple's iPhone