Apple set for more expansion as China Telecom secures iPhone 4S for February launch
Hence, the suggestion that the country's third largest operator will soon sign off a deal to carry iPhone 4S will make welcome reading.
Talking up Telecom
According to China Daily, China Telecom will launch a CDMA version of the handset in China later this month, expanding Apple's reach beyond its current exclusivity with rival China Unicom.
"China Telecom has already started preparatory work for the launch of the iPhone 4S," the operator said in a press release obtained by the site.
It's claimed the operator would have carried the device sooner, but it's launch was held up while the CDMA-based handset obtained the relevant operating licenses.
Either way, China Telecom is set to become the third CDMA operator to officially launch an iPhone based on the channel access method, following US carriers Verizon and Sprint.
Play for potential
More importantly for Apple, however, bringing China Telecom on board signals an intention to grab a greater share of what is an expanding smartphone base in the region.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty has already predicted Apple could sell as many as 40 million handsets in China in 2013 if operators beyond China Unicom are brought on board, with China Telecom accounting for 10 percent of what has been dubbed the region's 'high-end userbase'.
The speed of Apple's apparent deal with China Telecom suggests iPhone 4S's China Unicom exclusivity is one born out of technical limitations rather than one of strategy, though Huberty believes the world's largest carrier China Mobile will need to be courted if said 40 million a year total is ever to be realised.
A deal between the two parties was reportedly put on hold back in November, when it was claimed China Mobile was looking to secure a share of all App Store and iTunes revenue generated by users on its network.
[source: China Today]