China Telecom has reportedly finalized its talks with Apple over the iPhone 5 ahead of the smartphone’s debut in China in December. The carrier told reporters that its support for the iPhone 5 is now a “foregone conclusion,” while sources claim it will get the device at the same time as, or possibly even before than, China Unicom.
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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.
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.
Apple, a veteran of long lines ahead of iPhone launches in the U.S., has temporarily halted retail sales of the iPhone 4S in China. The tech giant announced Friday it has stopped in-person sales in Beijing and Shanghai “for the time being” in the wake of a near-riot by angry scalpers.
The iPhone 4S is set to finally launch in China tomorrow, but that hasn’t stopped the locals from lining up early to secure access to the coveted handset. The line for Apple’s flagship store in Beijing has gotten so out of control that Apple may have to cancel the launch there altogether.
Reports are coming in that Beijing SWAT teams have already been called in to handle thousands of angry scalpers and potential customers. There have reportedly been fights in the streets between gangs of professional scalpers that buy Apple devices in bulk to then resell at a higher price.
There are still nearly 12 hours to go before Apple’s iPhone 4S makes it debut in China, but hundreds are already lining up outside of five Apple retail stores in the hope that they will be one of the first to get their hands on the fifth-generation device.