In December, Apple will launch the iPhone 5 in December, the world’s largest mobile market. Before it can do that, however, the handset needs regulatory approval. Two devices have just been given the go-ahead by China’s State Radio Management, one of which is destined for China Unicom and China Mobile, which the other is headed to China Telecom.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook was in Beijing today, meeting Chinese officials as the Cupertino company eyes up further growth in China. It’s his first trip to the country since he took over from Steve Jobs as CEO, and he got himself noticed with a visit Apple’s Beijing store where he stopped to pose for photographs with fans.
China Telecom has become the second Chinese carrier to offer the iPhone 4S today, ending the exclusivity enjoyed by China Unicom for the last 18 months. The company announced back in February that it would begin selling Apple’s popular smartphone from March 9, and it has taken over 200,000 pre-orders in just the last week.
China Telecom and Apple have officially confirmed that the carrier will get the iPhone 4S on March 9th. China Telecom’s 130 million subscribers will have access to Apple’s latest handset for $0 RMB with select carrier contracts. The device will be sold in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavors.
Having obtained the licenses necessary to launch its new iPhone 4S on the China Telecom network earlier this month, it was only a matter of time before Apple’s deal with a second Chinese carrier came to fruition. China Telecom subsidiary Beijing Telecom has now issued a press release confirming that it will launch the iPhone 4S from as early as the end of February.
Apple’s iPhone looks set to make its debut on China Telecom after the Cupertino company was granted a vital network access license needed to launch the device. The license is believed to be one of the final hurdles to overcome before the iPhone arrives with China’s third-largest mobile carrier.
The Wall Street Journal reports Apple may have developed a modified version of its iPhone compatible with China Telecom’s “CDMA-2000’ network. The device is set to make its debut in China this Friday, but as things currently stand, it’s to be exclusive to China Unicom.
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.
While Apple is still yet to announce its highly-anticipated iPhone 5, that hasn’t stopped a number of carriers from advertising the device and taking pre-orders. China Telecom is the latest to begin preparations for Apple’s fifth-generation device, reportedly taking orders from the end of this month.
To underline how important China has become in Apple’s overall sales, the tech giant’s new iPhone 5 will be sold by that nation’s three top mobile carriers by year’s end, according to a Friday report.