If Apple was hoping to unveil its iPhone for customers of China’s third-largest mobile carrier in the world’s largest cell phone market, it may have to wait. China Telecom may have to delay introducing the handset until mid-2012, according to a Friday report citing supplier checks.
Hong Kong-based UBS analyst Wang Jinjin cites “checks with value suppliers” when telling investors the earliest China Telecom could offer the iPhone is February or March. The carrier, which would become the second in China after China Unicom to offer the Apple smartphone, refused to comment on the report, according to Bloomberg. However, local media have suggested the carrier could get the iPhone within three months.
Earlier in October, a Deutsche Bank report said China Unicom’s exclusive iPhone arrangement “could come to an end early next year.” In September, a report by China’s official Xinhua news agency reported the iPhone could be unveiled at the end of October.
News of a delay comes as China-based Android cell phone maker ZTE unseated Apple as the world’s fourth largest maker of cell phones.