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iPhone with Wi-Fi heading to China?

Apple's phone with Wi-Fi capability could be allowed in China soon. It recently cleared a major hurdle when it received a Chinese network access license.

An iPhone with Wi-Fi capability received its Chinese network access license last week.
An iPhone with Wi-Fi capability received its Chinese network access license last week. by Erica Ogg/CNET

iPhone customers in China could soon be able to get a version of the device with Wi-Fi, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Apple's phone with Wi-Fi capability snagged a network access license in China last week, which was posted on the country's Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center's Web site. The photo that accompanies the license looks like an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, and not the recently released iPhone 4.

The iPhone went on sale in China in October, but with 3G cellular service only, and not Wi-Fi. Chinese regulations don't allow Wi-Fi devices that do not use the country's own wireless standard, called WAPI (Wired Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure). Apple chose to introduce the iPhone, but with Wi-Fi disabled, in order to get its foot in the door of the Chinese market.

There is a small loophole, however: devices sold in China can offer Wi-Fi, as long as they also include WAPI.

It's unclear which carrier would offer the Wi-Fi iPhone. China Unicom, which already sells the Wi-Fi-free iPhone, hinted earlier this year that Wi-Fi-capable devices could be offered in the future. The carrier has also said it wants to sell the iPhone 4 and the iPad.