HONG KONG Oct 8 China Telecom (0728.HK), the
smallest of China's three wireless carriers, may become the
second Chinese operator to offer Apple's (AAPL.O) popular
iPhone after an exclusive agreement with one of its rivals
expires, local media reported on Friday.
China Unicom (0762.HK), the nation's No.2 carrier, is the
only Chinese carrier selling the iPhone, but its exclusivity
deal with Apple is likely to expire early next year, the South
China Morning Post reported, citing a Deutsche Bank analyst
That would open up the way for China Telecom, which
operates a 3G network based on a standard called CDMA 2000, to
offer iPhones, as Apple prepares to launch an iPhone model that
runs on that standard, the paper said.
"Although China Telecom management in a recent lunch
meeting refused to confirm whether the company would also begin
selling a CDMA iPhone in China next quarter, our own channel
checks suggest that the company has been in intensive talks
with chipset supplier Qualcomm (QCOM.O) and Apple to ensure
that this (development) indeed happens," the paper quoted the
note as saying.
It said a spokeswoman for China Telecom declined to
Unicom began offering the iPhone 4 in China late last
month, and said that pre-orders for the popular phone exceeded
200,000 units in the first two days it became available.
China's largest carrier, China Mobile (0941.HK), has said
in the past it was in talks with Apple to carry the iPhone, and
has also said it was talking to the U.S. company about
developing an iPhone that runs on TD-SCDMA, the home-grown
standard it is using in its 3G network.
(Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)