Apple has moved one step closer today to releasing the iPhone 5 in China. The country’s State Radio Management has given the go ahead for two versions of the iPhone 5 handset so that it can be used on some of the country’s most prolific wireless networks, according to AllThingsD.
The first model, referred to as the A1429, will be usable on China’s Unicom 3G network. The second model, referred to as the A1442, will be compatible on China Telecom’s CDMA network.
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Apple has had to go through a fair bit of bureaucracy just to get this far. Late last month the company passed one of the certifications necessary to release the device, passing the China Compulsory Certificate for the two models mentioned above.
It means the iPhone 5 is still on track to be released in the country before the end of the year. China Unicom has said in the past that it will begin selling the smartphone before the end of December, provided that all of the remaining regulatory approvals goes ahead without any issues.
Fellow mobile network and rival China Telecom, meanwhile, has claimed that it will get the new iPhone shortly after its rival. This view was reinforced earlier today when insiders at the company claimed that the introduction of the new device was a “foregone conclusion”, according to a report by the Southern Metropolis Daily.
Now that China’s Quality Certification Center has approved the device, Apple has one last hurdle standing in its way. It still needs a network access license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in China. Once granted, it will finally give Apple, China Telecom and China Unicom the all clear to start stocking the iPhone 5 in the country.
The release of the iPhone 5 can’t come soon enough for all parties involved. Apple will be itching to release its latest smartphone in the world’s most populous country, as it holds the potential to boost its sales considerably and increase the number of users adopting iOS 6. In fact for the 2012 fiscal year, total sales in Greater China is thought to have represented a record 15 percent of Apple’s total revenue. Clearly, it’s not a good idea for Apple to wait around too long.
China Telecom, which operates a fixed line business in the country, reported earlier this week that its profits for the third quarter had slipped to $601 million, down from $649 million at the previous time last year. As a result, the release of the iPhone 5 would almost certainly help improve the company’s sales during the Christmas period, building on the $11.5 billion reported by the company for its last quarter.
China will no doubt have a ferocious appetite for the iPhone 5 once it is finally released. Apple seems to have finally caught up with the number of orders being placed elsewhere in the world for its latest smartphone, but China is a different market altogether. Here’s hoping it has the stock to satisfy demand.