Apple Online Store “China Unicom Ltd. said Friday it will sell Apple Inc.’s iPhone in China this year, ending months of rumor about when the hit phone would make its long-delayed debut in the world’s most populous mobile market,” Jeremiah Marquez reports for The Associated Press.

“The phones are expected to go on sale in the fourth quarter under a [3-year] deal struck between the two companies, Unicom executives said in Hong Kong. They declined to give financial details or reveal how much the iPhone would cost, saying only that the price would be ‘competitive,'” Marquez reports.

“Unicom, one of three major state-owned carriers, would be the first Chinese phone company to formally support the iPhone, though thousands of unlocked iPhones brought in from other markets are in use in China. It is the only company in China that supports the network standard needed for the iPhone, known as WCDMA,” Marquez reports.

“Unicom chairman and CEO Chang Xiaobin said Chinese media reports that Unicom had secured a three-year exclusive deal to carry the iPhone and had agreed to buy 5 million handsets for 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) were false,” Marquez reports. “Apple’s talks with potential Chinese carriers had snagged on disagreements about how to share revenues, according to Chinese news reports. But Chang said the companies will not share revenues, with Unicom instead buying the phones in batches from iPhone and offering them with subsidies.”

Full article here.

Kirby Chien and Joanne Chiu report for Reuters, “The phones would not offer a Wi-Fi function, and Unicom predicted it would eventually secure a third of China’s 3G market share, but did not provide a timeframe.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]