Apple has finally reached an iPhone deal with China Unicom meaning the smartphone will now have an official presence in the world’s largest mobile market by subscription numbers. The iPhone is expected to go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2009, though the price hasn’t been announced. The New York Times is reporting that Bank of America and Merrill Lynch analysts believe the price will likely be between $99 and $299 with a 2-year contract agreement.
China Unicom and Apple will not be sharing revenues, with the wireless carrier instead buying the phones in batches and subsidizing them. Revenue sharing has been behind the delay in a Chinese iPhone release. Originally China Mobile, the country’s largest wireless provider, was negotiating with Apple to grab an exclusive on the iPhone, but neither party could agree on a revenue split. Instead, China Mobile will try to pit Dell’s first smartphone, debuted as a prototype last week, against the iPhone.
Update: The China Unicom deal is not exclusive, according to Apple, though the company hasn’t said if any other Chinese carrier deals are in the works.