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Latest iPhone to hit China's gray market on US launch date (2)

By Tuo Yannan and Shen Jingting  (China Daily)

07:53, September 14, 2012

After hearing of the market demand in China for iPhone 5s, she posted 6,599 yuan iPhone 5s for sale online in one day.

Big e-commerce websites have also announced they will cut iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S prices for introduction of iPhone 5.

Dangdang.com, a domestic online shopping portal, announced it will slash the price of the iPhone 4S by 500 yuan. China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, the nation's second-largest telecom operator by subscriber number, said there is no official announcement on the launch date for the iPhone 5 in China.

However, Apple's official partner in China was reported as saying by China's Web news portal Sohu.com that the new device will be on the market within three months and is now only waiting for network access certification from China's industry regulator.

Though Chinese media quoted Li Gang, deputy general manger of China Unicom, as saying that China Unicom was likely to introduce the iPhone 5 within the next three months, Wen Baoqiu, spokesman for China Unicom, told China Daily on Thursday that "the company did not confirm the news".

China Telecom, the smallest mobile operator in China, also refused to reveal the exact date of the iPhone 5's launch. China Telecom is the second domestic telecom carrier that introduced Apple's iPhone series on contract in the country. It released the CDMA version of the iPhone 4S in March, almost 28 months later than China Unicom, as the latter launched the iPhone 3GS in October 2009.

The exposure of the iPhone 5 has shattered China Mobile Ltd's dream of having one Apple device supporting its homegrown network. China Mobile, the world's biggest telecom operator by subscriber number, had hoped Apple would incorporate at least the TD-LTE 4G technology, as its TD-SCDMA 3G technology were very likely to be ignored.

Though supporting FDD LTE networks on certain networks, the iPhone 5 will not embrace TD LTE technology.

"China Mobile may have to wait for the next generation iPhone product to run on its networks, and that is not a short period," said Sun Kai, analyst at GfK Retail and Technology China Co Ltd, a Germany-based research company.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:厉振羽、张洪宇)

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