updated 11:30 am EST, Mon January 9, 2012
Early step towards Telecom sales of iPhone 4S
The China Radio Management agency has approved an iPhone compatible with carrier China Telecom, the Wall Street Journal reports. The device is officially identified only by a model number, A1387, but is listed as CDMA-2000 compatible. The standard is the same used by Telecom and many other CDMA carriers around the world, such as Sprint and Verizon.
It may still take several more weeks before a China Telecom iPhone is approved for sale. Cellphones require a variety of licenses before they can be sold in China, such as a network access license. CRM approval does confirm that a Telecom iPhone is coming, though, and likely not too long after the January 13th arrival of the iPhone 4S for China Unicom.
Telecom iPhone sales could be a major boon to Apple, since in November Telecom reached 123 million subscribers; even if just a portion of those would be in a position to buy an iPhone, it could still translate into millions of units. The Journal notes that the new iPhone model is also listed as WCDMA compatible, which could theoretically make it functional with existing carrier China Unicom; CDMA devices rarely support multiple networks, however.