This past Saturday (September 25, 08:00 China Standard Time) we saw the official release of the iPhone 4 in mainland China. It was welcomed by thousands of Chinese Apple fans, who camped out at the 3 Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. The actual launch had the fanfare of launches in New York City, London and Tokyo. This is even with gray-market iPhone 4's from Hong Kong and other countries sold in mainland China since it the initial launch in the US.

China Unicom said over 200,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 were received since September 17 but only 60,000 of these customers received their phones on the weekend. China Unicom had since stopped taking pre-orders due to the demand. The high demand at China Unicom outlets occurred even though the iPhone 4 sold through, Apple's only official mainland China carrier, comes with a 2-year contract.

Contrary to the iPhone 4 sold through Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai which are contract free. Apple have not released any sales figures for the weekend, but we can see from the lines of people waiting outside Apple Stores, many do not want to be locked into contracts. The Apple list prices of RMB4999.00 and RMB5999.00 for the 16GB and 32GB respectively contract-free iPhone 4 are quite high given the average monthly income in China, then again China is a country with the most millionaires, so only time will tell.

So far reports indicate that not only China Unicom outlets are sold out of iPhone 4, the four Apple Stores are also sold out.

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AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

iPhone3GSThere was an article on Engadget about the mainland China version of the iPhone. I thought it was necessary to create my own post to clarify the situation as I see them, after reading the postings and comments on various sites like Modmyi.com about this Engadget article. First of all, there have been real [manufactured by Apple] iPhones available in mainland China for some time; since 2007. These grey market iPhones came from both Hong Kong and else where around the world. In the past, Hong Kong versions; prior to iPhone 3GS, were more expensive than its counter parts from other countries. With the introduction of the iPhone 3GS, the Australian and New Zealand versions had also became desirable, due to their equally SIM unlock feature.

It is true that the Chinese government requires WAPI authentication in all wireless devices: client, access points, and routers, but this requirement caused an up roar among Chinese and foreign businesses, who would have to equip their employees requiring to travel to China with dual WiFi standard devices. In 2006 the WAPI proposed standard was rejected by ISO as an International standard in favor orf 802.11i.

China disclosed the WAPI technology to only 7 Chinese companies, and required any foreign companies to work with one of these 7 Chinese companies if they want to build WiFi devices for use in China. Of course, these foreign companies will also have to pay WAPI licensing fees. It is only recently; this year, that China was allow to resubmit the WAPI standard to ISO. So China's insistent on the WAPI standard rekindled.

Mainland China also has a different 3G mobile technology, TD-SCDMA. It is mainland China's attempt to create yet another 3G standard in the world. With the largest number of mobile phone consumers in the world, China believes this is possible. China Mobile was tasked but was not able to create a working 3G network until early 2008 and tested it during the 2008 Olympics. In early 2009 the China government granted a TD-SCDMA license to China Mobile, but at the same time also granted WCDMA license to China Unicom and a CDMA-2000 license to China Telecom. The latter two licenses is probably because the world's 3G mobile phone manufactures did not want to support yet another 3G technology, making choices of 3G mobile phone handsets limited. Yet mainland China consumers do have a great desire to follow the brand names; like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, HTC and Apple.

Like most GSM mobile phone manufactures, Apple's iPhone is a WCDMA 3G mobile phone. If the rumors of an iPhone being available on the USA Verizon Wireless network is true, that will mean a CDMA-2000 iPhone may be in the works. Apple's initial discussion with Chinese mobile carrier was with China Mobile, but as talks fell apart and the discussions shifted to China Unicom, so did a TD-SCDMA iPhone. So for Apple to create a version of the WCDMA iPhone for China without WiFi, is most likely Apple's desire to make available as soon as possible, an iPhone officially in China without changing the design or their manufacturing processes.

Mainland China does have a market for the iPhone, even if the prices of grey market iPhones are high; more than most workers' annual salary. The iPhone does not need an officially santioned iPhones to be popular. What the partnership with China Unicom will do, may be to make the iPhone more obtainable by the general public. As the price of the official iPhone from China Unicom will probably be much lower than the grey market iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS from Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, especially if it will not have the WiFi radio built in.

iPhone 3G With 3.0When I the create the post, To iPhone 3G S or Not?, I was not able to enable the MMS function on my iPhone 3G. Before I explain how to enable MMS on an iPhone 3G running the iPhone 3.0 firmware, let me explain my context.

My iPhone 3G is the officially "SIM unlocked" version of the iPhone 3G directly from Apple Online Store Hong Kong. It capacity happens to be a 16GB version. I installed the iPhone 3.0 firmware "Golden Master" version onto my iPhone.

The following applies to any carrier situations, no matter whether the carrier in question is an official carrier partner with Apple in the country.

[Update: 12:10, June 18, 2009] Added MMS settings for PCCW. Please note that these settings had not been tested on the iPhone. Please leave a note in the Comment section if you're a PCCW customer and tried it on your iPhone 3G.

[Update: 13:01, June 18, 2009] Thanks to reader Jon for pointing out the typo in the MMSC for Smartone-Vodafone.

[Update: 14:01, June 18, 2009] I just received some news from Smartone-Vodafone that contradicts the information I received from them in two separate occasions, which is the fact that they do not charge their customers for receiving MMS.

The latest information is that they will charge HKD0.04/KB; a maximum of HKD12.00/MMS, to receive MMS.

This comes back to my original point I always had with MMS, the technology will not get wide adoptions and acceptances by consumers until the carriers remove these ridiculous pricing.

I for one will not use it!

I encourage all to not use it and ensure you do not pay the fees to show our disgust.

[Update: 17:11, June 18, 2009] Thanks to reader Karay who pointed to a person calling himself "markmall_hk" on UWants.com, I have now updated the MMS settings for all mobile carriers in Hong Kong.

[Update: 01:10, June 20, 2009] Added settings for CTM in Macau.

[Update: 01:20, June 20, 2009] Thanks to reader Niels for the China Unicom 3G settings in mainland China.

[Update: 01:30, June 20, 2009] Thanks to reader Ju for confirming the settings for PEOPLE.

[Update: 15:10, June 20, 2009] Thanks to reader Todd for confirming the settings for CSL

[Update: 22:00, June 23, 2009] Thanks to the folks at iPhoneHacks.com we now have a set of instructions for our US friends who are stuck with AT&T.

[Update: 12:15, June 24, 2009] Thanks to reader Filipe for supplying the settings for CTM Macau non-prepaid SIM card customers.

[Update: 16:00, June 25, 2009] I just double checked Smartone-Vodafone's web site and it clearly states that "3G SmarTone-Vodafone customers" can receive MMS for FREE.

So I do not understand why the previous Customer Service representative claims that I have to pay the HKD0.04/KB when I clearly told her that I was on a 3G plan, plus she had my account opened in front of her.

[Update: 12:00, June 26, 2009] Added the instructions to enable to the "Cellular Data Network" option within the Network settings pane.

How to Enable MMS on iPhone 3.0

  1. Ensure you have a 3G plan with your mobile carrier. A data plan is not necessary with regards to MMS.
  2. Ensure the carrier had not blocked the MMS function from your account. In Hong Kong most carriers would not do so, unless you request them to do so.
  3. On your iPhone go to the Settings -> General -> Network -> Cellular Data Network settings and input the MMS settings specific for your carrier. The exact values for each of the fields will depends on your carrier. Do not worry if your carrier representative tells you that they do not support the iPhone. Be assertive and obtain the MMS settings: APN, Username, Password and MMSC. Most carriers would not have a Username or Password.

    If you do not see the "Cellular Data Network" option within the Settings -> General -> Network settings you can do one of the following depending on which OS you're on.

    Operating System Steps
    OS X
    1. Close iTunes.
    2. Start the Terminal (found in the /Applications/Utilities folder).
    3. Execute the command:
      defaults write com.apple.iTunes carrier-testing -bool TRUE
    Windows 32-bit
    1. Close iTunes.
    2. Go to Start then Run and type CMD.
    3. Execute the command:
      “C:Program FilesiTunesiTunes.exe” /setPrefInt carrier-testing 1
    Windows 64-bit
    1. Close iTunes.
    2. Go to Start then Run and type CMD.
    3. Execute the command:
      “C:Program Files (x86)iTunesiTunes.exe” /setPrefInt carrier-testing 1

    The following are the settings. Note that the APN is case sensitive.

    Carrier Settings
    Smartone-Vodafone APN = smartone-vodafone MMSC = http://mms.smartone-vodafone.com/server MMS Proxy = 10.9.9.9
    PCCW 3G APN = pccw MMSC = http://3gmms.pccwmobile.com:8080/was MMS Proxy = 10.140.14.10:8080
    PCCW 2G APN = pccwmms MMSC = http://mmsc.mms.pccwmobile.com:8002 MMS Proxy = 10.131.2.8:8080
    3 HK APN = mobile.three.com.hk MMSC = http://172.20.99.240:10021/mmsc Username = 3 Password = 1234 MMS Proxy = 172.020.097.116:8799
    CSL APN = hkcsl MMSC = http://192.168.58.171:8002 MMS Proxy = 192.168.59.51:8080
    New World APN = mms MMSC = http://mmsc.nwmobility.com:8002 MMS Proxy = 192.168.111.1
    Peoples APN = peoples.mms MMSC = http://mms.peoples.com.hk/mms MMS Proxy = 172.031.031.036:8080
    CTM Macau APN = ctmprepaid MMSC = http://mms.wap.ctm.net:8002 MMS Proxy = 192.168.99.3:8080
    CTM Macau (non-prepaid SIM) APN = ctmmms MMSC = http://mms.wap.ctm.net:8002 MMS Proxy = 192.168.99.3:8080 MMS Max Message Size = 307200
    China Unicom 3G (China) APN = uniwap MMSC = http://mmsc.myuni.com.cn MMS Proxy = 10.0.0.172
    • The "MMS Max Message Size" settings is optional but Smartone-Vodafone has a size limit of 307200 (300KB) where they charge HKD3.00/MMS.
    • For the PCCW settings you may want to try it first without the MMS Proxy settings.
  4. After these information are entered, you will need to restart your iPhone. Hold the Power button until the slider comes up asking you to slide to the right to shutdown the iPhone. Go ahead and shutdown your iPhone and then restart it.
  5. When the iPhone had restarted, on your iPhone go to the Settings -> Messages settings and ensure MMS is turned on. You can optionally turn on "Show Subject Field" if you like.

You should see an extra Camera icon when you compose a message in the Messages (previously known as "SMS") application.

In the Photo album application you will see an extra option to share your photo via MMS.

Please feel free to leave settings for your respective carriers in the comments and I will update the table above.

... Well not quite. AppleInsider reported that:

...China Unicom has tentatively reached an agreement and could start selling iPhones as early as May...

Since China Unicom's 3G network is a WCDMA standard unlike China Mobile's TD-SCDMA standard, the current iPhone 3G sold worldwide will not require modifications to be sold in China.

If this report is true, then I would recommend anyone in Hong Kong considering selling their iPhone (1st generation), to do so as soon as possible. As the used market for iPhone are mainly in China, most if not all iPhone collected in Hong Kong are brought into mainland China and sold at a high margin.