updated 12:20 am EST, Tue December 4, 2012
Orders taken within hours of announcement, devices ship December 14
According to a report on Sina Tech, China Unicom announced that it has received 100,000 iPhone 5 orders on its first day of preorder sales. Rival wireless operator China Telecom has been taking preorders for weeks, but began formal sales of the handset on Sunday and sold 5,000 sales of the hotly-anticipated device on its first day. The phone's ultimate release in China was announced last week, with products shipping on December 14. The new Apple phone has been available in 47 other countries, including Hong Kong and Japan, since September.
Apple has indicated that the delay in releasing the phone in China was due to final regulatory approval delays from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Regulators approved the device for sale in mainland China on October 31.
China Telecom is just the second official iPhone carrier in mainland China, competing against China Unicom. Still missing from the picture is China Mobile, the world's largest cellphone carrier with over 650 million subscribers. While a number of hacked iPhones are on China Mobile, the proprietary 3G network has prevented official sales. An iPhone 5-compatible network was built by China Mobile, but is not yet ready for country-wide rollout -- and no agreement with Apple has been reached to sell the handset. However, China Mobile does offer iPhone 5-compatible nano SIM chips for sale.