It looks like China will be getting the iPhone 5 earlier than expected. Pending regulatory approval, China Unicom is slated to release the new model within three months of the launch on September 21st.
This is an unusual development for China, where Apple releases are often delayed for more than three months, reports The Next Web, so this will be a welcome surprise for Apple fans. China Unicom’s VP Li Gang told Sohu IT that the company had already reached an agreement with Apple and is now waiting for government approval. China Unicom will likewise gain more of an advantage over China Mobile, who is the largest carrier by volume but the smallest carrier by 3G standards. Its 3G services run on a separate standard that Apple has never been keen to adopt.
With China Unicom and China Telecom both already providing Apple’s most popular products, China Mobile is trying to catch up by leapfrogging 3G entirely and entering the 4G realm, already conducting trial tests this year in anticipation of government licensing. Yet it looks as if this is all for naught, as MIIT has denied that 4G will be licensed this year, even though China Mobile has already said that a 4G phone would come to market by the end of the year. This is surprising, given that China Mobile 4G services have been operating in Hong Kong for quite some time.
The iPhone will be released in Hong Kong on September 21st, so Mainland Chinese will get a chance to try out the new phone anyway once the grey market does its magic.
Source: The Next Web