China Mobile Ltd.'s smaller rivals are offering discounts for Apple Inc.'s iPhones ahead of the mobile giant's launch next Friday.
The discounts come as China Mobile, the world's biggest carrier by subscribers, is expected to offer new iPhones at competitive prices in an effort to gain market share.
China Mobile is rolling out a high-speed fourth generation network and has been taking preorders from customers since last month.
A company spokeswoman Wednesday declined to comment on its pricing strategy. Both China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. want to make sure that they can lock in subscribers.
China's mobile market is the largest in the world with more than 1.2 billion subscribers. China Mobile has over 760 million users.
In Beijing, China Telecom has cut the price of some of 24-month contracts for the 16-gigabyte iPhone 5S by as much as 24% or 1,288 yuan ($212). Without a plan, the iPhone 5S starts at 5,288 yuan. China Telecom has also cut some of the package prices of the less expensive iPhone 5c by 24%. An unsubsidized 16-gigabyte iPhone 5C in China costs 4,488 yuan.
China Unicom is also moving to offer discounts but it has been less aggressive than China Telecom. The company has reduced some contracts for the 16-gigabyte iPhone 5S by 15% or 800 yuan, according to the company's Beijing website.
Both China Telecom and China Unicom have been offering the new versions of the iPhone since late September.
China Mobile has been losing high-end users to China Telecom and China Unicom in recent years due to its less popular homegrown third-generation technology. The company i s betting on its speedier 4G services and the launch of the iPhone to regain growth momentum.
Analysts said while the smaller carriers' price cuts could lock in users, it would likely lead to higher handset subsidies, weighing on their profitability.
An Apple spokeswoman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
在中国移动(China Mobile Ltd.)将于下周五开始销售苹果公司(Apple Inc.) iPhone手机之际，规模较小的竞争对手中国电信(China Telecom Corp.)和中国联通(China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd.)为自己的iPhone套餐提供了折扣。
在北京，中国电信已将绑定24个月合约的16G iPhone5S价格下调24%，相当于调低人民币1,288元（合212美元）。没有绑定合约的iPhone 5S裸机起价为人民币5,288元。中国电信还将部分iPhone 5C套餐的价格下调24%。无补贴的16G iPhone5C在中国的售价为人民币4,488元。
中国联通也推出了折扣活动，不过力度没有中国电信那么大。该公司北京网站显示，已将部分16G iPhone 5S套餐价格下调15%，相当于调低人民币800元。