China Telecom courts iPhone buyers ahead of China Mobile launch

China's third-largest mobile carrier reportedly cuts $132 off the price of the 16GB iPhone 5S through price reductions and gift packages.

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CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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China Telecom, the country's third-largest carrier and a longtime iPhone seller, is apparently firing an early shot over China Mobile's bow.

China Telecom has slashed the iPhone's price by about 15 percent, according to Bloomberg on Tuesday, which obtained promotional materials in Beijing.

Through price reductions and gift packages, China Telecom is cutting 800 yuan ($132) off the price of the 16GB version of Apple's iPhone 5S, reported Bloomberg. Half of the reduction comes by way of a free iPhone case and external battery pack, and the other half is a cut to plan costs, according to the report. Without a subsidy from carriers, the iPhone 5S costs around 5,288 yuan ($864) in China.

Although China Telecom is no slouch in the mobile space, it's exceedingly small compared to China Mobile, which has over 750 million customers across the country. It's possible that China Telecom's move is a response to the iPhone soon going on sale at China Mobile. That carrier started taking preorders on December 25. The iPhone will launch on China Mobile's network on January 17.