iPhone 5 could hit Taiwan mid-December

If a report published Monday by Focus Taiwan is to be trusted, Taiwanese should have a chance to get their hands on the iPhone 5 starting December 14. Local carriers Far Eastone Telecommunications, Taiwan Mobile and Chunghwa Telecom all confirmed they are in the final stages of signing a distribution agreement with Apple as the sides are apparently working out the details. Taiwan’s carriers plan to start taking pre-orders for the device a week before the planned December 14 launch…

According to Focus Taiwan, citing local media reports, the iPhone 5 is “very likely” to hit the local market on December 14, more than two and a half months after it rolled out in 31 other markets.

The Silicon Valley giant has yet to “give its consent” to related details, including the release date, carriers’ contract plans and the content of press releases, the carriers added.

Terms of iPhone 5 deals in Taiwan were not known at press time.

Asked whether they would offer higher-priced contract plans that would allow customers to take home the device for free, the plans that would allow customers to take home the device for free, the providers only said they are still discussing many plans with Apple.

The iPhone 4S hit Taiwan in December 2011, two months following its October introduction in the United States. Taiwanese carriers collected 400,000 iPhone 4S pre-orders.

The report goes on to note that the carriers have no plans to throw parties celebrating the arrival of Apple’s new handset. The promo event the three carriers threw at midnight on the day iPhone 4 was released in Taiwan attracted 10,000 people.

Availability of Apple’s handset has been improving lately as the company finally catches up to demand. Today, some international online Apple Store began quoting a one-week delivery estimate for online iPhone 5 orders, an improvement over the previous 2-3 week shipping times.

The handset is also easier to find in brick-and-mortar stores.

Apple previously said it will make the iPhone 5 available in about a hundred countries and through 240 carriers by the end of 2012. The handset is expected to land in China later this month or in December.

iPhone sales in so-called BRIC countries have been dropping amid the onslaught of Android cheapos and Apple’s arrogance in dealing with carriers.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is calling for a sub-$200, contract-free iPhone if Apple is to win some of the market share in emerging markets from Android.

Recognizing Android’s lead in terms of units sales, social networking giant Facebook is reportedly offering its engineers to trade in their iPhones for Android devices.