updated 09:35 am EST, Fri January 20, 2012
Paves way for first China Telecom iPhone
China Telecom has taken a step closer to getting the iPhone for the first time, the Wall Street Journal reports. An unspecified iPhone model has just received a CDMA-2000 network access license from China's Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center, clearing another hurdle for sale. Telecom operates a CDMA network, but the only mainland Chinese iPhone carrier at the moment is China Unicom, which like most iPhone carriers worldwide is GSM-based.
Early last week a CDMA iPhone received radio certification from the China Radio Management agency. Cellphones have to clear a series of regulatory approvals to go on sale in China, but the new CDMA device -- likely a slight variant of the iPhone 4S -- should now be most of the way through the approval process, if not finished. Telecom could therefore be in a position to launch the 4S within a matter of weeks.
For Apple expanding Chinese iPhone sales is crucial, given the size of the market, and fierce competition from Android-based devices. Telecom alone has approximately 123 million subscribers, even a fraction of which could translate into millions of iPhone units and slow Android's advance.