China Telecom snags iPhone 5 for late 2012 launch

The company and its biggest rival, China Unicom, will both start selling Apple's handset by the end of the year.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
Apple's iPhone 5.
Apple's iPhone 5. Apple

China Telecom, that country's third-largest carrier, will start offering the iPhone 5 soon.

Apple's iPhone 5 is currently not available in China, but has been rumored to be coming to China Telecom for some time. According to the Wall Street Journal, which interviewed China Telecom chairman Wang Xiaochu today, the carrier will start selling Apple's handset in late November or early December.

China Telecom's competitor, China Unicom, announced in September that it too would be selling the iPhone 5. That company said that it would make the handset available around the end of the year. According to the Journal, the companies will likely start selling the iPhone 5 around the same time.

Still, the ultimate prize in the country is China Mobile. The country's largest carrier, China Mobile has nearly 700 million subscribers. For years, Apple has been trying to bring the iPhone 5 to China Mobile, seeing its massive customer base as a grand opportunity to elevate its presence in China.

So far, China Mobile has balked at offering the iPhone 5. Apple has, however, sold its iPhone through China Telecom and China Unicom.

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