China Telecom iPhone 4S release gathering pace

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Earlier this month we told you about how the high demand for the iPhone 4S led to violence in China with stores closing without selling a single handset. Now we have news that a China Telecom iPhone 4S release is gathering pace.

Currently the handset is not available on the China Telecom network, but according to a report on AppleInsider a network access license has recently been granted. The granting of a permit such as this normally means a launch is just around the corner, as devices usually become available weeks after gaining network licenses.

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The iPhone 4S is a so called world phone and can work on both CDMA and GSM networks, but can’t use China Telecom’s 3G network. Currently China Unicom is the only carrier in the country that offers the device, and provides it with big discounts on long contracts.

Only last week there were rumors that a new CDMA-2000 compatible iPhone had won approval from China’s Radio Management agency, and was just waiting for its network license. It is not known 100 percent if the device is the iPhone 4S or an earlier version of the handset.

Previously engineers from the carrier were using the Verizon CDMA iPhone 4, and managed to get the device working on its network. Many analysts believe any such deal between Apple and China Telecom could earn Apple as much as $9 billion. It may be the country’s smallest carrier but it has a staggering 123.4 million customers, with 33.4 million of these subscribing to the carriers 3G offerings.

Getting the iPhone onto the China Telecom network would mean that the world’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, as the only operator in the country without the iPhone. China Mobile has 650 million customers and has said before they are working with Apple to provide a 4G TD-LTE handset sometime in the future. While there is no official iPhone on the network over ten million customers have one on the network.