iPhone 5 gains network certification in China

Apple’s handset has finally been granted a key network certification in China, opening door to a launch ahead of the important holiday shopping frenzy and Chinese New Year, the country’s most important holiday. China’s Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center, as discovered by The Wall Street Journal, wrote in its license that the iPhone 5 is compatible with China Telecom’s network, the country’s third-largest mobile carrier. Vendors in China often start selling new handsets within weeks of approval, the paper writes, meaning the official iPhone 5 launch in the massive 1.33 billion people market is likely imminent…

Paul Mozur, writing for The Wall Street Journal blog:

According to a regulatory website, an Apple device resembling the iPhone 5 has received approval for a “network access” license in China.

China Telecom last week started taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5. The handset has both WCDMA and CDMA-2000 certification, however, the regulatory website made no mention of an iPhone supporting Unicom’s mobile standard, so the carrier probably won’t get to sell the handset at the same time as China Telecom.

And in spite of the rumors, China Mobile, the world’s largest telco with more 600+ million subscribers, has not yet negotiated a distribution agreement with Apple.

Apple’s global iPhone 5 roll out entails making the device available in a hundred countries and through 240 carriers by the end of 2012 (it’s coming to Taiwan mid-December).

China is important for its size and revenue contribution as nearly one-fifth of Apple’s sales last quarter came from China. Tim Cook notes as much, making it clear in a chat with investors that “demand is off the charts in China”.

According to a survey, the country could soon top United States as the largest iOS and Android market.