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Chinese iPhone May Come Without Wi-Fi

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

Apple is slowly inching towards launching its iPhone handset in the Chinese market, after reportedly agreeing to disable the Wi Fi capability within the phone. However, the move could lead to an increase in the already substantial grey imports market, which is believed to have resulted in some two million iPhones being sold within China.

While disabling the Wi-Fi via software fixes would be the cheaper option, it would be very swiftly bypassed by hackers, so Apple will almost certainly have to make design a specific variant of the hardware for the Chinese market. The decision to disable the Wi-Fi functionality is thought to be due to government concerns about controlling internet access.

China Unicom has been reported to be close to signing the rights for the iPhone, although China Mobile has not yet been completely ruled out as it has been engaged in talks for well over a year.

Last September, the Daiwa Institute of Research had said that it expected that both the 3G and Wi-Fi services would be disabled on the Chinese iPhone. At the time though, China Mobile was expected to sign the iPhone reseller rights and switching the phone to work on its TD-SCDMA network could have proven problematic.

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Tags: iphone  china mobile  china unicom  wi-fi  unicom  China