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China Unicom to have iPhone 5 by end of 2012

The carrier says that it'll have the device within the next three months, joining China Telecom, which also be carrying the handset.


Apple's iPhone 5 will come to China by the end of the year, a carrier in that country has confirmed.

China Unicom told Chinese technology site Sohu IT in an interview published yesterday that it'll launch the iPhone 5 within the next three months. The carrier didn't say exactly when the device will launch. Separately, China Telecom told the publication that it, too, will be carrying Apple's iPhone 5 around the same time.

The Next Web was first to report on the story.

Apple announced the iPhone 5 on Wednesday. The company said that it'll be available in a handful of countries on September 21, and then be rolled out to several more by September 28. China was not included in either list. However, Apple confirmed that a total of 100 countries will have the iPhone 5 in December, so it's likely China is included in that grouping.

The big question mark in the country, however, is whether the iPhone 5 will be available on China Mobile's service. China Mobile is the world's largest cellular service provider with nearly 688 million customers. Apple has been trying for years to bring the iPhone to that carrier's network, but so far, they have failed to come to terms. Speculation abounds that the iPhone 5 could be the device that changes that, but so far, neither company has confirmed that's the case.

For now, though, all eyes are on preorders in the U.S. and some European countries. As of this writing, Apple's initial preorder supply has run out, and the company is making new customers wait two weeks to get the device. U.S.-based carriers are still promising delivery on September 21.

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