The release of iPhone 4S in China will not be the end of a story. There is still more to it. However, instead of China Unicom, it is China Telecom that is in the picture. A version of the Apple’s iPhone built for China Telecom’s networks has been approved by a Chinese regulator, hinting that the smartphone would reach of customers of the mobile operator very soon.
It is not clear if the device is the iPhone 4S, the latest version of the iPhone. The China Radio Management office said on its website that it had given approval to an Apple smartphone built for China Telecom’s CDMA2000 network.
Apple’s iPhone was originally only built for networks using the WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) standard. However, last year, Apple launched an iPhone 4 compatible with CDMA-based networks, leading to speculation that the device would eventually be offered by China Telecom.
Currently, China Telecom’s rival China Unicom is the only carrier that officially sells the iPhone in the country. On 13 January 2011, China Unicom will start selling the iPhone 4S.
China Telecom has 123 million mobile subscribers. It has plans to begin selling an iPhone device sometime this year. However, negotiations with Apple are still ongoing. That is why company spokesman Xu Fei did not elaborate much on this. Fei hinted that the company might sell an iPhone 4S or a future iPhone 5, depending on China Telecom’s final agreement and when it is reached.
Xu added China Telecom was not involved in the approval of the iPhone device by the China Radio Management office. Apple did not immediately comment.
Some hurdles are yet to be cleared as the iPhone device approved by the China Radio Management office will still have to receive a license from China’s Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Center before it can be officially sold.
China Telecom and China Unicom together have about 320 million mobile subscribers. However, this number is roughly half compared to China Mobile’s subscriber base of 644 million. China Mobile has also been in talks with Apple about offering the iPhone on its networks. Its network supports another standard known as TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), which currently is not supported by Apple.
Source: Mac World