The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 had “passed through” China’s network regulations board, thus paving the way for the device’s Chinese release in mid-December.
According to the source, the two models approved were the WCDMA and CDMA-2000-compatible iPhone 5 variants, which should both work on China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE:CHU) and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE:CHA). These are China’s second-largest and third-largest mobile carriers respectively.
Unfortunately, there still is no news regarding the approval of the TD-SCDMA variant, which could delay the release of the iPhone 5 on China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL), the largest carrier in both China and the entire world.
Among all the countries Apple is planning to release the iPhone 5 in this year, China is perhaps the most crucial for the company’s long-term business prospects. It is, as such, also the most interesting launch market for industry watchers. All in all, Apple hopes to have the iPhone 5 released in 100 countries on 240 carriers by the end of next month.
Especially of interest to market analysts and financial news watchers is the prospective agreement between China Mobile and Apple. As China Mobile’s subscriber count is close to 700 million, this could be key for Apple further increasing its worldwide market share and revenues.
It is believed that this agreement could be finalized sometime early next year, if all turns out well.