China Telecom, China’s smallest wireless operator by subscribers, will launch a CDMA-compatible version of Apple’s iPhone 4S by the end of February, reports China Daily, citing a press release from China Telecom subsidiary Beijing Telecom. According to the local news source, the handset has been approved by national regulatory authorities the Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Centre and China Radio Management Office, and may now be sold on the Chinese mainland.
The move is expected to increase pressure on China Telecom’s domestic rivals in the 3G market, particularly China Unicom which is currently the only operator offering Apple devices on a post-paid basis. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, China Unicom recorded 32.5% quarter-on-quarter growth in its 3G subscriptions in the final quarter of 2011, with 3.49 million net additions in December alone. Unicom attributed the leap to the success of its iPhone offerings. Indeed, such was the popularity of the US-based company’s newest device, the iPhone 4S, that Apple’s own stores in China stopped selling the handset after scuffles broke out among the large crowds gathered to await the store’s opening.