China Unicom and China Telecom are both expecting to be selling Apple’s iPhone 5 by the end of 2012, according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that number-three operator China Telecom will start selling the iPhone 5 in late November or early December, marking the first entry of the device into the market.
Speaking to the WSJ at the Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress, China Telecom chairman Wang Xiaochu said the device should be available by early December or sooner.
China Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobing said China’s second largest operator also plans to sell Apple’s latest smartphone once it has been tested and approved by the country’s authorities. The company chairman made the comments at a news conference, Reuters reports.
The China Unicom chairman added that the company aims to have 100 million 3G users by the end of the year as it looks to attract high-end users.
China Unicom was the first Chinese operator to offer the iPhone in 2009 and the device has contributed to the steady growth of the operator’s 3G user base. China Unicom lost its exclusivity with the iPhone when China Telecom launched the device this year. However, Chinese number-one, China Mobile, does not currently offer the iPhone.
In Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter, sales in China totalled US$5.7 billion, around 16 percent of the company’s total revenue for the period.